Second Chance Month: Kirsten’s Journey of Healing and Support

Second Chance Month: Kirsten’s Journey of Healing and Support


In celebration of April’s Second Chance Month, The Fortune Society honors the importance of continued support every day through our mission. Every individual has the ability to grow, especially when they have access to a strong network of resources that can guide them toward success. 

Kirsten found Fortune in 2017 as a participant and was immediately welcomed by the intake coordinators who would change the course of her life. They introduced Kirsten to the Alternatives to Incarceration (ATI) program where she completed the employment service workshops and began working as an intern with the ATI Leadership Team. The workshops provided Kirsten with important skills that prepared her to begin working again upon her release.  

To go to the workshop and actually learn how to talk about yourself and how to talk about your strengths, and steer people away from focusing on things you may have done and mistakes you may have made was so helpful,” said Kirsten.  

Following her first internship with the ATI Leadership Team, Kirsten found another internship with the Networking and Engagement Services Team (NEST) and was hired as a Recovery Specialist with the NEST in 2019. Through her work, Kirsten provides a place for other Fortune participants to start over after incarceration. She sees her position as an opportunity to build a safe space for others and further their healing process with empathy and peer connection.  

It’s really important to have a place at Fortune where they can just go and be with other people who can empathize with what they’ve been through to a certain extent,” she said.  


Kirsten’s work with the NEST acts as a different service than meeting with a case manager or therapist. Instead, the NEST encourages interaction with peers and healing through everyday activities. 

The NEST holds weekly groups and offers peer support for participants working toward recovery. There is also space to play music and games, read, do yoga and meditate. Kirsten hopes these services will show how important wellness is for all individuals.  

“People hear recovery and the Recovery Center and they think automatically that it’s drug related...but we’re all in recovery whether it’s from prison, from PTSD, from trauma of any kind and, of course, substance [use]. We’re really trying to let people know that wellness is important for everybody,” she said.

The services provided by the NEST help to show participants that they are not alone and a support system is available. Finding a sense of family at Fortune is what empowered Kirsten to take advantage of the services provided to her. Fortune believed in Kirsten and this encouraged her to believe in herself.  

“This place made me feel like I’m not doomed. I still have a future; I can still make something of the rest of my life,” Kirsten said.  

Reflecting on Second Chance Month, Kirsten sees the value in second, third, fourth and even more chances for all Fortune participants. Fortune provides participants with not only resources but learning experiences that can lead them to success – as long as they are willing to change, Fortune is here to support even if it takes a few attempts.   

To Kirsten, giving someone a chance is about not giving up on those who may need more support. It means trying again, working through obstacles and ensuring that every individual has someone who believes they can change.  

On that very basic human level, people make bad choices, or strange choices, or they make good choices. Sometimes you can figure out why someone made bad choices, and hopefully that person can move ahead and recognize where that behavior got them and can change that. But, regardless of that, everyone deserves second, third, fourth, and fifth chances no matter what. And that’s what we’re here for,” said Kirsten. 

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