Congrats to the ladies of the WAITT Program

On Wednesday, we attended the virtual graduation with the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail (VPRJ) for female inmates who completed the WAITT Program, a program that helps it’s participants get on the right path towards recovery. REAL LIFE has partnered with the WAITT program, VPRJ, and Colonel Witham for many years now. All the graduates expressed their immense appreciation for the program giving them newfound hope and a chance at a better lifestyle.

The WAITT graduates were given the opportunity to share their testimonies at graduation and express their growth. The first woman who spoke, said “I am thankful for the WAITT Program for many reasons. I have been able to learn a lot about myself and the struggles of all these courageous women who are here with me. There are many different kinds of addiction in the world and the only way to come out stronger is to face them head-on. WAITT has taught me that everyone faces challenges and we must learn from them in order to take control of our lives. I have put everything I have learned from the program into making myself the best version I can be, while navigating through daily obstacles. I have become a stronger, more understanding, and compassionate person. I am looking forward to continuing to use the tools I have learned over the last three months, as a senior mentor for our next WAITT Program.”

Another graduate said, “To the WAITT Program, REAL LIFE, Peggy and Dr. Scarbrough, thank you. The REAL LIFE curriculum and WAITT program has helped me choose to be clean and live. There were constant stressors before, but now I realize I don’t have to do it alone. I was introduced to the WAITT program in incarceration, it was the beginning of something great, clean and sober living. It was the beginning of the new and improved me. Dr. Scarbrough had the plan and the steps to get me back to living clean and sober. However, it was up to me to execute the plans. I first has to take accountability for my actions, I now know that accountability leads to sobriety. This was step one to prove my dedication to a clean and sober lifestyle. I finally have my goals back, as well as a plan for living. REAL LIFE gave me the tools I needed to find myself. Now, I have a clean future and my family back to support me. I look in the mirror and see my best self today. One day at a time. I have God in my life, and with Him, I have the faith and the trust to continue living this life. Thanks to the WAITT program and REAL LIFE, I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I see a new and improved, better, clean, and sober-living me. On September 25th of this year, I will be two-years clean, I will continue to live this lifestyle, and today and I choose to be clean.”

Our next graduate stated, “The WAITT program has educated me and helped me grow in all areas of my life. Through completely the modules, I have been able to do a lot of self-discoveries and the gain the tools I needed, to continue my journey beyond jail. The program allowed my time not to be done in vain, but to help build a rock-solid foundation towards pursuing God’s purpose for my life. Thank you, Ms. Peggy, for your dedication and support. I pray that this program continues to help other inmates as much as it has helped me.”

Another testimony of the program’s success comes from our graduate, who stated “I am a grateful recovering addict. When I was arrested my life was in shambles, I was flying by the seat of my pants and not getting very far. When I was accepted into the WAITT program, it was an absolute blessing, I started picking up the peices and things started making a lot more sense. WAITT has helped me dig deep, and learn so much about recovery, and myself as well. People, places, and things, is definitely my new motto. I am beyond excited to take what I have learned to the next step and attend REAL LIFE in Richmond, when I am released next month. This program has given me a second chance and something to look forward to. I am thankful to the WAITT and Ms. Peggy, for giving us a safe and comfortable environment to be able to express ourselves and learn a new way of life and I am excited to continue this journey.”

Our last graduate speaker said, “I am a person in recovery, sober for twelve months. I am a senior in WAITT and a two-time graduate of the program. My experience with REAL LIFE curriculum has been great. I have learned many tools and resources that will help me with my recovery. The biggest of all is self-love and awareness. I look forward to continuing my sobriety on the outside, where I will live life on life’s terms. I am studying to be a real estate agent and want to give back to other by educating people like myself, that they too can be sober and clean, and own homes. I leave today knowing I have a bright future, while my journey continues.”

Colonel Witham, the Superintendent of VPRJ, told the graduates, “Congratulations, I am so proud that you all are doing well.” and thanked both the staff and inmates, who have given so much to the program. He notes that the staff, who have provided mentorship and guidance, and to the ladies, who will continuing their recovery in jail, until released, are important to the success of this program. He ended his speech with “Congratulations all around, to everyone.”

Dr. Scarbrough finalized our ceremony by congratulating our graduates and thanking all who have been involved in this programming. She notes how lucky VPRJ inmates are for having access to the WAITT program and the REAL LIFE curriculum, considering that COVID has drastically impacted the services available in the countries carceral facilities. Dr. Scarbrough highlighted the success of two previous WAITT graduates, who have since completed the REAL LIFE program in Richmond, and are now living thriving lives in recovery. Our Recovery Coach, Melissa, who has dedicated so much time and energy to partaking in this programming, and the results speak for themselves, Melissa is a house manager for one of the houses, and is now paid-staff member with REAL LIFE, she has reconnected with estranged family, she has her license and her very own car. Melissa’s journey was not easy, but she did not waiver. Brittany was another success story; she was in the WAITT program in jail and transitioned to the REAL LIFE program upon release. She has since graduated, lives on her own, and has remained committed to recovery. Brittany is top-sales woman at her job, has received many awards and accolades, and doing incredible things. Dr. Scarbrough states to the graduates, “On your hardest day, or an off-day, think about Melissa and Brittany’s success, remember they were once in jumpsuits just like you all, and now look what they are doing. If they can do it, you absolutely can. You have to work hard, this is the beginning, not the end, your next beginning will be when you get out, and take what you have learned and apply it.”

We are so excited for the future journeys for each of these great ladies and wish each the best of luck and success!