After a Troubled Past, Dawn Found Creativity and Compassion at Fortune

After a Troubled Past, Dawn Found Creativity and Compassion at Fortune


The Fortune Society’s latest annual report is a collection of the incredible successes driven by our caring community. Thanks to people like you, 7, 223 individuals received Fortune’s transformative services. Dawn is one of those people.

“…for once in my life, I really want to do the right thing and I really want to reap the rewards of living a good life.”

Dawn’s troubled upbringing led to justice involvement. Without addressing the parts of her that needed healing, negative behavior and criminality may have stayed as part of her story. But Fortune knows that people are more than their past—and deserve dignity and respect.

“Everybody…[at Fortune] really is so awesome when it comes to making you a face, a name…,” she says, “Everybody is a person and means something.”

Through personal interactions with Fortune staff members, many of whom share her story with justice involvement, and the comprehensive programs that Fortune offers, Dawn is seeing life in a new, positive light.

“Give yourself a shot at a having a good life. It’s really pretty good. It’s nice waking up in the morning and not having to worry about what you did yesterday or if the cops are going to bang your door down.”

Read more of Dawn’s story from our annual report below, then share the report with others in your network.

Dawn, a Fortune participant

I’m more than a number and more than my past. I’m a unique person and that’s what Fortune celebrates. I had an abusive childhood and was introduced to substance use at an early age. Unfortunately, substance use led to justice involvement. I couldn’t see a way out until I was introduced to The Fortune Society while incarcerated at Rikers Island.

What began as something to simply pass the time transformed into a refreshing, new path for me. Fortune doesn’t just focus on one thing—they care about me as a whole person. From credit counseling to creativity, they are helping me learn what it means to live a good life and reap the rewards from it. Every staff member I’ve interacted with has a great personality—I wasn’t expecting to be impacted on such a personal level by them, but I now know that Fortune was placed in my life for a reason. Today, I’m on track to secure stable housing, have recently been offered a full-time job, and am reconnecting with the writer I’ve always been. 

I love having the artistic freedom to express myself, especially when performing with fellow participants at Fortune’s poetry slam events. It’s wonderful creating with people who understand what I’ve gone through. All of us are giving ourselves a chance to have a good life, and that feels really good.  

Article by Root Stitches LLC

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