In October, I inquired about an opportunity in which I would be able to earn the required Volunteer/Service hours to graduate while gaining real-world work experience. I had to seriously debate with myself if I even had the time to commit to something, I knew very little about. All I knew was that this was an opportunity to work with incarcerated offenders. Because I was in great need of service hours, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to send in my resume. Within a week I was called for an interview and then accepted the position as intern within the Progressive Release Program of a non-profit organization.
Through this internship my aspirations to become an FBI agent shifted to working for a non-profit organization with ex-offenders and juveniles taking a bad turn in life. I have been able to go inside of the women’s detention centers as well as the juvenile detention centers and correspond directly with dozens of inmates through one on one and see first-hand the impact that this type of work makes. After about seven months of working with everything I have once a week for about four hours in the office, I have been offered three employment opportunities that have come directly from my experience with Progressive Release. When I reflect on the series of events that have taken place over the past couple of weeks, I have blown away about how not even a year ago I had viewed my life to go completely different.
In the classes that are held inside of the women’s detention centers, we focus on release readiness as well as coming to terms with current situations and how to move on in a positive light. The facilitator of this class, Miss Debra, has a saying that all of the women have learned to chant with her. “One thing makes the next thing happen.” I always thought that this was catchy and probably true, but I just witnessed this in my own life, and it is energizing. Showing up every morning even when I did not want to made this happen. Showing up to class on the days I could have slept in made this happen. Reaching out for an opportunity I knew little about even when I felt I did not have time to take on anymore commitments lead me to my passions and the opportunities I have today.
It is easy to roll through the motions of life and think that things happen on a whim or that sometimes you just get lucky. The truth of it all is that the choices that we make lead to the opportunities we are presented with. One thing, whether that is showing up to class or applying for that job, makes the next thing happen. That next thing could be a promotion, awards, recognition, or the very thing you feel called to do. I have been able to witness first hand individuals with numerous felonies on their records and nothing but the clothes on their backs achieve their own personal goals. I have seen these men and women go from dealing drugs to graduating college and having heathy and stable families. That is not the type of success that happens because of luck. It was one thing that made the next thing happen.