A Profile of Amy Reynolds
It is my hope to one-day mentor young ladies like myself and teach them the tools of construction and trades so that they can place their energy into a skill that lasts a lifetime and will lead them to higher wage jobs where they can take care of themselves and their families. Amy Reynolds
Women are going to prison at an alarming rate. Presently, there are about 170 women’s prisons in the country, and more than 200,000 American women serving criminal sentences, the majority of which were for non – violent offenses.
These women dream of a better day, a second chance, another opportunity but after incarceration or addiction or making some bad choices, they seem to be lost. I know because I was one of them in Marysville Prison where there are many fields of dreams. Women planted in rows, a 6 by 8 feet, roughly 48 square foot cell holding potential and growth. What I’ve learned is that you don’t lose dreams, you lose hope until something or someone comes along and reignites that flame inside yourself that makes you want to try again.
IMPACT Community Action is a place where you can dream again. The Re-Entry Work Readiness program is transparent and transformative. In a small room, great things happen after you are released from the mental prison and confront barriers to employment opportunities. You are bombarded with hope and possibility. Afterwards, I was determined not to fail and so I applied all of my skills and acquired knowledge to the Vocational and Training and Certification Program (VTAC) and upon my graduation, I became the second woman at IMPACT to enter the construction trades field. The lady before me broke the ground but I want to break the barrier between women and construction trades. Young ladies seem to be getting “tougher” each day but without the right guidance and training and real opportunities, they will misuse their talents and not fulfill their potential.
Life after IMPACT is good after becoming employed with Korna Kokosing at $16.00 an hour I felt a sense of freedom. I had become self- sufficient and had the tools needed for upward mobility. Since then I ‘ve worked non –stop as private contractor on various projects throughout the city sharpening my skills and learning more about the construction business. order to break the barriers for women in this career, women must see other women doing the job and learn from them. My next goal is to start a company that trains and employs women like me for a career in the construction trades. I am living proof that that women do not have to compete with men but they must be competent to get the job done.
Self-sufficiency is more than financial freedom it is also an internal independence that comes from knowing that you challenged yourself to become the master of your own destiny. I will not settle until I have accomplished my dreams. I learned this from IMPACT, never lose hope and live what you dream.
*This story is a part of our "Life After IMPACT" Publication