Growing up in a broken home with many troubles at school, I found it difficult to achieve much. Running away from home at the age of 14 and then injecting speed at 15, saw me spiral into addiction. I fell pregnant with my beautiful daughter, but because of my drug lifestyle, my Mum took custody of her. Drugs, crime and violence surrounded me.
After coming out of prison for the third time, I met a boyfriend and he was violent. I was back on drugs, committing crime and I would often fear for my life. I ended up falling pregnant and had twin boys and then another son. Because of my lifestyle, my four children were taken away from me.
In 2013 I was sent to prison for the fourth time. I was angry, I hated the world and I hated myself. Every time I left prison, I had good intentions to do the right thing. I wanted to break the cycle I was in but I just didn’t know how.
Another prisoner encouraged me to join a fitness program. Little did I know that this program would eventually change my life.
Whilst in prison I heard the facilitator share her story of beating addiction through a personal relationship with Jesus. I wanted the same so I cried out to Jesus and asked for His help and forgiveness, to be my Saviour and my friend. He set me free!
For so many years, I lived in bondage to addiction, crime and violence. Jesus began to transform my heart and gave me hope.
I made a promise to myself that if I were ever to get my life together, I would use it to help other people.
After I was released from prison I joined a mentoring program. Like many women leaving prison today, I had to face my fears and address my unemployment, lack of education and the worry of not being able to pay rent.
My mentors taught me that, “The fight in me must be greater than the fight against me.” My mindset changed from being a victim to being an overcomer. Against all odds, I began to fulfil the dream in my heart to help others.
I graduated from the Yellow Ribbon Project mentoring program and went on to complete the Teen Challenge program. Despite my learning struggles, I have gone on to study and have achieved Certificate 4 in Community Service Development and a Certificate 4 in Leadership/Ministry. I recently became a Street Chaplain and I also coordinate a Community Eats dinner through my church every fortnight for people in the community who are doing it tough. I also get the privilege of sharing my story in schools.
I also have now got a job as a retail supervisor in a busy supermarket and I am happy to say that I no longer rely on government housing.
My greatest achievement and miracle of all, is that my case with the Department of Child Protection, which was initially an 18-year order, is closed and I now have full custody of my son and full visitation rights to my other children.
I am so thankful that I could get back on my feet and get my life for my family and myself.
I will continue to be focussed on building a better tomorrow and seeing other people receive their second chance just like me.