Kickin’ off the year with a graduation
We brought in the new year by celebrating our most recent round of REAL LIFE graduates from Riverside Regional Jail!
The keynote speaker, Travis Mines of the ROOTS (Reinventing Ourselves Outside The System) organization, spoke some encouraging words.
“I came from the same situation you are in now,” Mines began, and continued on to share 5 keys to recovery—hope, personal responsibility, self-advocacy, education, and support—which are necessary to step out and do something different in life.
Following Mines words, REAL LIFE graduates were given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences throughout the program.
During the last 12 weeks, so much was learned that graduate Francisco Mora felt that his “mind is still processing different things.”
The REAL LIFE program covers a lot of material to support motivation and goal-setting towards making positive changes.
Regardless, the journey begins with the realization that “there is a better way to live,” as Robert shared.
With that, comes the need for a different perspective regarding recovery and lifestyles.
Quadir discovered that “being an addict doesn’t really mean just drugs—you can be addicted to many things,” which reflects the REAL acronym… Recovery from Everyday Addictive Lifestyles.
Being able to change that perspective was a big accomplishment for Roy, who shared that the program gave him a “different view on honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness,” as well as learning “not to judge people because everybody’s situation is different.”
Many graduates shared examples of how their outlook has changed. Benjamin realized “drugs can make you change your mind and make you do things you don’t want to do,” while Devon became aware of how his choices affect not just himself, but those around him.
For Christopher, he realized that “recovery is a process, not the end of the road,” and knowing that means quitting is not an option.
Jacquan recognized that recovery is not possible “without support or the desire,” to do so. Similarly, Lamont Watson hopes to continue the program because he learned recovery can’t be achieved alone.
Completing this program, DeAndre feels like he gained “an extra guide” to use in his “everyday life.”
Each of the graduates made their appreciation known. One graduate, Marquez, felt that what he learned from the program was enough that his “incarceration hasn’t been a waste.”
We couldn’t be prouder of those who graduated! There is a lot of work that goes into completing this program… and they should now feel confident in your journey towards a Thriving Life! This is not goodbye either, we are happy to support and guide each as they move forward! Congratulations for taking a really big first step!!!