When asked about her favorite memory in her four years with The Fortune Society, Annette points to a Halloween celebration at Fortune for two reasons: her two daughters enjoyed themselves, and she saw a new side of staff members decorated in makeup and costumes.
“It was nice––it was beautiful,” said Annette. “That’s something I wouldn’t forget. I keep that in the back of my mind.”
Annette’s description of Halloween reflects how she speaks about much of her experience with Fortune––focused on motherhood and the staff members who have helped her.
Since first joining Fortune in 2018 as a participant, Annette has accomplished an impressive variety of goals through our programs.
“’I’ve gotten so many certificates within The Fortune Society,” she said. “It was absolutely wonderful.”
These include hard and soft skill job readiness trainings with Employment Services such as anger management and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30, a certification course for workplace knowledge on safety hazards and employee rights.
Annette has eight children. Since her justice involvement, her kids have been at the forefront of her priorities. She continues to work towards building a stable environment for her family and is vocal about the broader need for female-oriented parenting services. Annette believes improving outreach to other women at Fortune and sharing her success with our programs would help increase female enrollment and encourage new services that focus specifically on the needs of women.
She hopes that through her advocacy more female participants will also participate in substance abuse, anger management, and therapy programs that were readily available to her, and thus, leave her impact on an organization that has made such a mark on her life.
“It’s worth it to get yourself together,” she said. “It’s worth it to get your life back on track and take ahold of your life. That’s why I’ve been doing it lately. I’m doing it for me.”
Annette also demonstrates the power of being present. For a time, she spent most days at our Long Island City office at the Better Living Center or with her former case managers in the Discharge Planning. She emphasizes just how special the Fortune community is and what it has come to represent for her:
“You have in one building so much love and kindness and compassion. It doesn’t matter what you did. It’s about what you’re going to do. So, I love Fortune.”
Now, she is searching for an apartment with Fortune’s support. Annette continues to take advantage of the variety of programs available to her and is grateful for the opportunity to remain part of our community for as long as she desires.