On my day of release, I walked out those gates and a New Freedom representative was waiting for me just as they said would happen.
When we arrived, I was excited but a little scared. It soon became just excitement. I walked in and was immediately greeted by people saying, “Welcome Home”. I heard that several more times as my intake process continued. I didn’t fully understand what they meant by “Welcome Home” until later in my journey. I was given a big bag of clothes and hygiene. I greatly appreciated it and I thought, “Wow, they really do care”.
Beginning on the first day the New Freedom staff began helping me make plans for after New Freedom. They helped me obtain my state ID, birth certificate, a phone, and even an eye exam and glasses. The groups I went to every day were a very important component. They helped me understand why I kept going back to prison and what I needed to do to break the cycle. Graduation day came and I was filled with hope. I was proud but most importantly I was prepared. I had a place to live because while I was at New Freedom, they helped me find one. I had a job because they helped me prepare for getting one. New Freedom also offers electives; I chose Peer Support. I found a job at Community Bridges as an Outreach Navigator II in Phoenix. While I was a member at New Freedom, I volunteered to help with the set up and break down for Position of Neutrality and Recovery Church events which are held weekly.