I was born and raised in the great city of Brooklyn, New York. I spent the majority of my professional career in social services as a case worker and group supervisor. I guess I always had a drive to help people in a positive way. Eventually, I moved to New Jersey with my daughter and her mother. A few years later, I made the tough decision to leave my home in New Jersey and move to Philadelphia by myself. Despite moving away from my daughter, we have always maintained a close relationship.
I worked in Philly as a case manager for many years. Unfortunately, I wound up getting arrested for a crime I didn’t commit and was a victim of the cash bail system. Because I couldn’t post bail, they locked me up until my court appearance. I was held in prison for three months. During that time, I lost everything – my job, my house, my car, and my sense of self-worth.
Three days after I got out of prison, I was placed in a shelter where I have been living for a year. That’s when I first came to Philadelphia FIGHT and it quickly became a home for me. People at FIGHT are really genuine. They have similar life experiences, so they know where I am coming from.
I started by taking classes and workshops at FIGHT’s Institute for Community Justice. ICJ taught me how to become a leader and get civically engaged in my community. I soon participated in the Community Justice Ambassadors program. It taught me computer skills, resumé writing, and how to advocate for the causes I’m passionate about. The course gave me a new sense of purpose. I began to pursue the goals that I had put on the back burner because of my life’s circumstances.
Now I’m a Community Health Worker at FIGHT. I help people learn how to take control of their own health care and well-being. I get to connect with people one-on-one and support them with everything from medication adherence to offering them critical health information. It makes me feel great to know that I have empowered folks to incorporate healthier behaviors into their lives.
Today I have dreams for my future. Because of FIGHT, I’m so close to making those dreams a reality. The one thing I want most is a home of my very own. For me, having a home brings a sense of family. A place where I can cook great meals for myself and my children and a place where I can feel safe and get back to the work I have always intended to do.