Welcome to the sixth edition of Instilling Change: A Second Chance Series! Last month, we featured former Second Chance participant Deborah Henderson. Stay tuned each month for a new feature. -- After spending 10 ½ years of her life incarcerated, Jennifer knew that the last time she wound up in trouble would be the end of her time in the justice system. Throughout the final portion of her incarceration, Jennifer was able to focus on the changes that she wanted to make in her life once she got out. “It gave me that chance to pull myself out of my addiction, get my head in the right place, and focus on the things that I needed to do,” Jennifer stated in an interview. Although she had lost everything she owned, the time she spent inside allowed her the fresh start that she had long desired.
Once she returned home, things weren’t getting easier. According to Jennifer, “it’s really hard to reenter society after you’ve been in trouble. Nobody wanted to open the door for me.” Luckily, Jennifer learned about Second Chance while living at a domestic violence shelter. After attending Job Club, she was able to get enrolled. Since she’s been in the program, Second Chance has been able to assist Jennifer with multiple different areas of her life.
Through Second Chance, Jennifer has been able to take care of a lot of past debt such as utility bills, almost 200 hours of community service hours and multiple fines, which she has recently completed paying off. Second Chance has also acted as a source of positivity for her. According to Jennifer, Second Chance has helped her “get back to leading a normal life.” For her, this includes being sober, healthy, and productive. When asked what has been most helpful for her, Jennifer said that it is a combination of everything that Second Chance can provide, material or not. “I don’t know that I would have gotten this far without this program,” Jennifer stated. Although the program has assisted her with different areas, it is truly Jennifer’s attitude and determination that has gotten her this far.
Since being with Second Chance, Jennifer has learned how important accountability and healthy relationships are. With the staff holding her accountable to succeed, she now has the same expectation with people she interacts with in her life. It is important for her to protect herself, her future, and hold others accountable for their own actions. Aside from Second Chance, Jennifer has a wonderful working relationship with her parole officer and substance abuse counselor, both who have continuously pushed her to succeed.
As of today, Jennifer is continuing to thrive in the community. She is employed at a local distribution and merchandising company and is staying in a sober living home, working towards moving into her own home this fall. As of this month, she is 19 months sober. When speaking with Jennifer, she said that “now that I’m clean and sober and have dedicated my life to it, I have a different attitude and have found the right place; a job where I feel at home.” Since beginning her full-time job in February, she has been approved for one week of vacation and has received a raise. She also keeps in contact with her children, as they all live in the area. She is extremely proud of them and their accomplishments. -- Disclaimer: Confidentiality is important to us here at Second Chance. Due to the nature of Jennifer’s situation, we’ve decided to keep all information anonymous. We are fortunate that she is completely safe and healthy. -- Second Chance is a program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission. If you have any further questions, please contact us at 816-231-0450.