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Meet Francine

In honor of Second Chance Month, we wanted to highlight some of the incredible individuals in the Breakthrough program.

Meet Francine! She completed LVCF Cohort 2 last year, and has stayed on as a Peer Facilitator, guiding other participants as they work through the program. Learn more about why she decided to sign up for Breakthrough, and why it changed her life.

Why did you decide to participate in the Breakthrough program?
I believe knowledge is powerful, and I’ve seen [how] ladies grow through the program. I wanted the same for myself!

How has Breakthrough helped you?
Breakthrough gave me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone. In a way, it also gave me my identity back.

What is one thing that stuck out to you about the Breakthrough program?
The soft skills prepared me to face many things in my life that I thought I might have dealt with. During this course I was able to work through these things/traumas.

What is the best part about volunteers coming in to participate in the milestone events?
The best part is feeling loved and supported from people who don’t even know me, but are willing to give us non judgemental love. I will forever be grateful for the help they gave me to believe in myself!

What is the “scariest” thing about coming home?
Failing. The stigma as a convict/offender and forever holding the label of the mistake I made. I’ve worked so hard to get past the shame and guilt, but [the thought of] being looked at like I’m not good enough to have a good job [is scary].

What is one “myth” you’d want to bust about individuals who have been incarcerated?
That “Nobody can change” who goes to prison! That we will forever be worthless. That we are not deserving of a prosperous life.

What is one thing you want people in society to know about returning citizens?
Please believe in second chances. We are not trash you throw away. Most people take this time to heal what was broken and restore the damage we’ve done. All we can do is show, and prove, that there is such a thing as a changed life.

Anything else you’d like to add:
Coming to prison gave me a second chance at life. The opportunity to become the woman, mother and daughter I was born to be. I look in the mirror and love who I am today.

For anybody who is struggling that is incarcerated to know that hope and faith are with you every step of the way– don’t lose sight of that! Embrace your second chance.

If you could tell someone why they should support Breakthrough, what would you say?
You would be investing in people who are determined to be the best version of themselves. The skills and knowledge we gain from Breakthrough are priceless. People need stability for growth, and having the constant support from Breakthrough will lead us [down the path] of becoming productive members of society.

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