The day the prison cell door was opened for Janet she stepped intothe community as a recovering cocaine addict with a high school education and a lifetime of misery. Janet’s first task was to learn how to be and feel free. Her next task was to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. She chose to follow a dream she had as a six year old and prepare herself for work in the nursing field.
Her first day of class to become a certified nursing assistant was a treasure. She came back to Killingsworth that afternoon with an arm full of books and a face full of smile. We had never seen her smile before.
Among the things Janet learned was that when she was clean and sober and away from her old playgrounds and old playmates she was a very good student and she loved to learn. When she graduated with her CNA certificate it read with honors and, the award was made in the large dining room of a local restaurant. That’s far removed from Janet’s most recent graduations: after continuing her education at Midlands Technical College for two years, she pushed on to get a four-year degree in Social Work from Columbia College a United Methodist related women’s college in Columbia, South Carolina. And she didn’t stop there.
The invitation we received this past spring was to the University of South Carolina graduate school ceremony where she would be awarded her Masters Degree in Social Work. What a happy day! And a happier day when the pardon we helped her obtain allowed Janet to become a licensed MSW. Now she is working at a local nonprofit agency using her degrees from both colleges and university as well as the school of hard knocks to help other people in need.
Congratulations! And Congratulations!!
PS: Received word that Janet is now teaching courses in social work at the University of South Carolina…….now she’s a teaching in a classroom several blocks away from where she came to live the day she got out of prison.