Finding Hope and Recovery at Fortune: Roslyn’s Story

Finding Hope and Recovery at Fortune: Roslyn’s Story


To hear Roslyn speak about The Fortune Society, you’d think you were listening to a minister in the midst of an impassioned homily. She attributes her life transformation, in great part, to the kindness and compassion of the Fortune family—from fellow clients to staff members, many of whom were once clients themselves. Roslyn feels grateful to have found them. There’s a sense of gratitude that radiates from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.

It wasn’t always this way.

Roslyn recalls her upbringing as “very poor.” She has dim memories of living with an abusive, alcoholic father and moving from place to place. Her world tumbled down, crashing into darkness, when she began to use drugs. Instead of bouncing from city to city, she shuttled in and out of prison due to her addiction—something not uncommon for those battling substance use.

Now, her past is firmly behind her, a building block to a new future.

2015 is the year Roslyn singles out as her personal Tipping Point. It’s the same year she walked through the doors of Fortune.

“Coming here, I feel safe. I feel comfortable. I feel that I can conquer the world,” she says. “It just keeps me in a positive state of mind.” She bubbles over, swept up in the moment: “You have to be very fortunate in life to know that this place is about hope; that this place is about changing lives.”

Roslyn’s new, optimistic mindset fuels her focus. She’s studying for her High School Equivalency diploma, working one-on-one with Fortune volunteer tutors in math and reading. “She’s pro-active about her education,” comments Brittany Smith, Fortune’s Senior Director of Education, adding, “she believes in the power of her voice.”

Roslyn has participated in multiple hearings to Close Rikers Island, lobbied legislators for criminal justice reform, and attended rallies at City Hall. She’s joined Fortune’s performing arts program and is acting in the Public Works production of Hercules (on stage now through September 8th).

“My moments of acting [have] brought me out of a shell,” she declares.

Thankfully, Roslyn not only has the resources of Fortune at her disposal, but she also benefits from the emotional support of her son, Keith, and the spiritual support of fellow congregants of the Recovery House of Worship in Brooklyn who fortify her conviction to stay drug free. “She’s an inspiration! Pastor Edwin proudly proclaims.  

In more ways than one, Roslyn’s story captures what Fortune is all about. Affording people endless second chances can result in amazing personal growth. At Fortune, we believe in the power of individuals to change. Roslyn, with a broad, beaming smilegives testimony that our belief is wellfounded. 

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