We always believe in the potential of our clients to succeed as better people in a more positive life. However, the success of the client largely depends on his or her willingness to work with our wonderful support staff and create a better life for himself through faith in God.
In this story, one of our clients made it out of prison and successfully transitioned from Riverside House, but fell back on hard times and came back to our facility a second time. He’s now in a better place to move on to the next and best phase of his life, and he is looking forward to his potential, and not defining himself by his failures. Here is his story.
This is my second time here at Riverside House. I am very disappointed with myself because I should have been able to overcome the obstacles that originally brought me here. My name is Mr. Harris*, and here is my testimony.
Growing up in the South Dade area, I was blessed with a talent for sports. In high school, I was the star quarterback on a team that was built to make it state and go on to become national champions. However, because of my attitude and unwillingness to listen to authority, I ended up getting arrested and assigned to a boot camp to finish my high school education instead of playing for a national title. I remember that while I was in this boot camp with drill sergeants yelling at me, and people making me do what they wanted me to do, I was very frustrated.
One woman who worked at the camp helped me to turn my attitude around, and I was able to get my diploma as a high school graduate. After completing the boot camp, so much time had passed, and I was no longer able to play sports at the college or professional level. Unfortunately, this meant that I turned to a life of crime selling drugs and guns. This life created the opportunity to make money fast, and I could buy what I wanted. As an only child without my father in the home, I wanted to be a better man, and I thought that by having money, I could get power and ultimately the respect that I desired.
In the life of crime, I could have been killed a few times, but it is apparent to me now that it was only by the grace of God that I am alive today. Furthermore, I could have taken someone else’s life too, but thankfully, I didn’t. My life has been a tough one, but when I got arrested because of my crimes, I believed that I had time to come to my “right” mind. I began to look at my life and recognized that I was on the wrong side of where God wanted me to be. Therefore, when I was released after doing a mandatory sentence in federal prison, I began to work hard the legal way and show my mother that I could be the son that she always envisioned.
After being released the first time from Riverside House, I felt that I was ready to overcome any obstacle that came my way because I had now had my mind right. I was doing well for about a year, but then I unknowingly got in a verbal altercation with my PO and as a result, I ended up back at Riverside House.
I should have known better, but in the year I spent working hard, and living the right life, my mother passed. Her death was very rough for me, and I didn’t have the proper coping skills to deal with the death of the only supporter that I had. Therefore, as I was going through this pain, I ended up saying some things that I should not have said to my Probation Officer. While I am at Riverside House this time, I will continue to speak with the chaplain and seek the advice from my case manager and staff. I believe that I can make it in the community, and although my past isn’t the best, I am praying that someone sees my potential versus my failures.
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the client.