Angela’s journey unfolded against a backdrop of daunting challenges: teenage pregnancy, foster care, drug addiction, and homelessness.

A teen pregnancy and subsequent baby adoption steered Angela back home to Lansing in search of family support. Instead, she found herself homeless and battling drug addiction. For seven years, her existence revolved around the desperate pursuit of abandoned buildings for methamphetamine use and scavenging dumpsters for empty cans and bottles she could turn in at the grocery to get money enough to buy food.  She occasionally engaged in illicit activities, working with individuals who stole cars, to eke out a meager income.

Angela hit rock bottom while incarcerated. A pivotal realization dawned on her—the son she had relinquished for adoption might one day seek out his biological mother. Fueled by the desire to avoid being imprisoned, or worse, dead, if that reunion ever occurred, Angela resolved to reform, and ultimately transform, herself. Two months prior to her release, she enrolled in the HOPES (Hospitality Opportunities for People Re-Entering Society) pathway program. Through diligent effort, she completed classes and earned certificates, laying the foundation for a potential career in the hospitality industry.

Her first stop after reentering society was Glass House, a residential program and drug treatment facility that offers rehabilitation services. The program’s focus on relapse prevention provided the perfect transitional opportunity for Angela; it also provided structure and resources with the goal of post incarceration success. From there, Angela was welcomed at Safe Harbor, another residential treatment and recovery center that provides people struggling with a substance use disorder the resources needed to initiate a recovery lifestyle.

No longer in a survival mode and mentality, Angela was able to focus on making plans and achieving goals. Driven by the desire to assist others facing similar struggles with drug addiction and its associated hurdles, she aspires to become a counselor and speak to youth susceptible to heading down the dark road she once traveled. Angela acknowledges the instrumental role played by numerous individuals on her path to recovery, particularly Lara Graham, Peckham’s HOPES Employment Specialist. Graham’s support included assistance in obtaining Angela’s first driver’s license.

Throughout her tumultuous journey, Angela’s faith served as a steadfast anchor, providing purpose during the darkest times. Her newfound perspective centers on striving to reach her fullest potential, which includes conveying this valuable advice to others facing seemingly insurmountable challenges: maintain a positive outlook and cultivate hope, even in the face of adversity. Angela’s narrative is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, support, and a persistent commitment to a brighter future


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