“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” For many people navigating reentry, this concept is easier said than done, but is possible with consistent dedication and a positive mindset. After being placed on probation, former Second Chance participant Desirai Carter decided that she did not want to continue down the path she was on and has since worked tirelessly against the odds to carve her own path towards success.
Like many others, Desirai faced many reentry barriers with a new conviction, such as finding gainful employment and independent housing. Prior to her enrollment in Second Chance, Desirai worked with Hope Faith Ministries, who was able to help her with food assistance and classes such as anger management. Once she successfully graduated from their program, she wanted to continue to better herself and her goal of working towards gainful employment. To assist, Desirai’s Parole Officer referred her to the Second Chance program. Although Desirai was initially hesitant about the program, she became inspired and knew it was going to be a worthwhile investment in the long run.
Through the Second Chance program, Desirai worked diligently with her assigned Resource Specialist on career exploration and job readiness. Once employed, Second Chance was able to assist with work clothing and transportation assistance to assure she showed up to work each day ready to be successful. Along with gainful employment, it was also important to focus on financial management and budgeting her money to focus on the future. During her time in the program, she was able to work on building her credit back up, as well as pay off various outstanding bills. While Desirai is very thankful for all the help she has received from Second Chance, she is most thankful for the moral support. According to Desirai, it is crucial to know you have a non-judgmental support system in your corner. She is also thankful for the relationship she developed with her Probation Officer, who helped keep her focused on her goals along the way.
Fortunately, Desirai is still a part of the Kansas City community. She has successfully completed the Second Chance program and has also completed probation as of September 2020. If Desirai is not working or spending time with her kids, she is most likely giving back to the community. In March of 2020, Desirai spoke at the Greater Kansas City Reentry Network meeting about her personal experience navigating reentry and in the future, she has hopes of opening a transitional housing program for women involved in the justice system.
When asked what she was most proud of, Desirai stated that she is most proud of completing probation on time, as well as changing her social environment and learning to set boundaries to stay on track with her personal goals. After talking to Desirai, it is obvious that she is very determined to better herself every day and will never settle for less for herself and for her family. We are extremely proud of Desirai and are excited to see what she does in the future!