“I can’t believe the change in me!” Those are the first words out of her mouth as Casie J. shares with me her experience at Saint John’s. Struggling with addiction and lured into drug dealing by the money to be made, Casie’s life began to spiral after her divorce. She’d had a history of periods of sobriety interspersed with lapses into using, dealing and jail time. After her last time in jail, she knew something had to change.
She walked through the red doors in December of 2019 as part of the county jail’s re-entry program. She had 9 months left on her sentence and thought, “I could sit around here and do nothing, or I could try this program I’ve heard so much about.” The part of the program that intrigued her the most was the job training. As a wife and mother for many years, she had no work history and no job training to speak of. Her last job was in 2001. So Casie has spent the last 10 months completing her sentence (her ankle monitor came off this month) and working hard to become employable.
When asked about her experience at Saint John’s, she teared up and expressed her gratitude for the encouragement she has received, especially from our Client Services staff and Case Managers. She has felt supported and uplifted on her journey these past months. Casie noted that her confidence is through the roof as she now has the tools necessary to be hired for a good job.
Despite the fact that she is experiencing some anxiety about leaving Saint John’s, Casie is looking forward to what’s next for her, namely employment at UC Davis Medical Center where she was just offered a job as a Senior Custodian. She also hopes to begin saving money and be reunited with her daughter (21) and her son (17). But most important, “I’m just so happy that I now have a way to support myself and my children without doing something illegal.” Indeed!
By Karen Edwards, Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager, Saint John’s Program for Real Change