A Profile of Fawn H.
Q. The Mission of IMPACT Community Action is to reduce poverty by providing hope -inspiring help and real opportunities for self-sufficiency, tell us what led you to become the next drop in the ripple effect?
A. I was homeless and felt helpless in Cleveland, Ohio. I literally lived on the street with my active addiction. My face was plastered as a most wanted fugitive in Cleveland. Drug and alcohol abuse became my life and my arrest actually saved my life. If you Google my name, you will see my photos. These mug shot photos document my history with law enforcement.
Q. You heard about the Re–Entry Program at IMPACT, what did you think?
A. I did not know what to think. I knew I was going to trained to become a functional member of society --“whatever that is” -- and I would recapture my life.
Q. What was your first impression?
A. I wanted to be here so badly. I needed a family and IMPACT became my family. I sat in a room with so many people like me. We were lost and had no idea where our lives were going.
Q. When did you want to change?
A. I realized while in the “Mis–Socialization of Incarcerated Persons” workshop that I did not love myself. Because of this, I did not know how to love other people. It was sobering to learn that until I got it (my life) right in my heart, I would continue in the cycle of my own self abuse.
Q. What does it mean to have hope?
A. Hope that I can get up in the morning and look forward to another day. I can pray and not beg God to do something for me that he gave me the power to do for myself. Before the Re-Entry Program I looked in the mirror and saw a 12-time convicted felon. I did not recognize myself. But now when I look in the mirror, I see a woman that has come a long way. I accomplished something in this program that I so desperately needed. I lost my past and I found myself. I found out that what I did yesterday does not define the woman that I am today.
Q. Who are you now?
A. I am a woman that is determined, focused and hopeful! I have the potential to be anything that I need to be. I am a tax-paying citizen! I am a part of this great society and most importantly, I am no longer that girl in the mug shot!
Q. What are you doing with your life?
A. Today, I am gainfully employed! I got a job with benefits! I know this may sound silly, but when you have thought for so long that you would never do something and you finally do it, it is incredible! I passed all of my testing and received the Workforce Readiness Credential. I proved to myself that I could do it. I also can go to college. Like my instructors, I want to be one of those people who believe that people like me can make it if we receive the right guidance and are inspired by people who won’t give up on you.
Q. You have experienced the Re-Entry Work Readiness Program, now what do you think?
A. This is one of the best experiences that I ever had a chance to be a part of. I would recommend this program to every incarcerated person. This is a win-win program. For once in my life I got a chance to work on myself before I could better anyone else. This is a real program for real people with real needs.