I was incarcerated for 30 years. In prison, I found support through a group that focused on maintaining community ties between the incarcerated and outside world. One day, staff from The Fortune Society visited to hear what our group had to say, and I immediately knew that they were a necessary resource to aid me after my release.
However, when the day of my release came, I felt like a fish out of water. I needed to get accustomed to new technology, work on reestablishing family ties, and look for employment. I also had to sleep in a shelter that first night. But I had anticipated all of this, and I still remembered Fortune’s visit while I was incarcerated. So, on my second day, I went to them for assistance.
Now, I live at The Castle, Fortune’s transitional housing unit for formerly incarcerated individuals. Thanks to Fortune, I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to sleep each night.
Having housing has allowed me to go back to school. I’m going to study psychology and human development. I also just finished a training in substance abuse counseling. I want to complete my college degree so I can support others who have been affected by the criminal justice system. In addition to housing, being at Fortune connects me to people who are passionate about justice work, too.
The first step of successful reentry is to address key aspects of living: housing, finance, and employment. While incarcerated, I found it extremely helpful to map out the resources I would need after my release. It also helped to keep a positive attitude about reentry. From the moment I heard about them, I knew that Fortune would help me get back on my feet— and they did.
The Fortune Society has greatly eased the burden of my reentry. With their holistic services, I can pursue an education, maintain employment, and finally thrive while on a healthy path to happiness.