My name is Will. I am 14 years clean from drugs and alcohol. I did 13 years in state prison. I was released after 13 years in SCI Graterford. Life has changed. There were many fears when I got out about how I was going to make a new life for myself. About how things were going to be. If I could even, make it. Or if I would go back to prison. Upon my release, I gained employment at Vantage Foods where I was promoted to a mechanical operator in there roll stock department. This is my first job that I have held for more than a year. I have made many new friends who have become vital to my support system. I just recently made my one-year anniversary of being out of prison. This year has been many new experiences for me and a lot of first-time experiences. The Program’s Housing Assistance program has allowed me to manage and save my money. I was able to budget my money and can now look into purchasing a car. I owe my success to the help I received by my prison mentor Robert Rhodes from the Pennsylvania Prison Society, who worked with The Program and helped me find my place where I now live and who was my go between in communicating with the outside; The Program that has been there to guide me in my first year out; and to Keith Sultzbaugh, CEO of Accountable Prison Ministries, who is my mentor through The Program. Keith has not only been my mentor. I consider Keith a good friend who has helped me in times of need and has helped me gain my own furniture so I can own my own stuff.
I’m living my success story every day. It’s slow but I am moving forward. I am very patient with my situation and I manage to wake up every day happy at Work Release. I didn’t know what self-esteem was or my self-worth. I give myself affirmations every day. The picture of how amazing I am becomes clearer every day. I was so out of focus before. The Program has really instilled the feeling of hope. Seeing woman who have been worse off then me and are doing well is an inspiration. I no longer let my past define me. I do embrace it as part of my story now. I’m looking forward to using the education towards being a better parent. I want to be a more positive role model in my children’s lives. Today I am able to stand tall and take steps to rebuild the damaged relationships that my actions have caused.