Cory’s story is an example of how one person providing encouragement and faith in another can turn one’s life around.
As a teen Cory states that he had opportunities that he ignored and was drawn to the streets like so many of his peers. Not only did that choice cost him his freedom but, it also cost him the life of his son. The death of Cory’s son changed his life dramatically.
Says Cory, “It caused me to stop caring in general and I closed myself off from the outside world. Determined and loyal to me, because at the end of the day if I don’t look out for myself no one else will.”
Cory described some of the difficulties he faced in his formative years. He began using and selling drugs as a teenager, and quickly became attracted to street life. Due to this shift in lifestyle, he threw away all of the support he had. “My mom was involved in the church substantially and continued to stay in church, however, my dad was abusive.” he said. Cory used to have physical altercations with his dad frequently. Day and night he wondered where his dad was even though they routinely engaged in altercations. Consequently, “I got expelled from school, as a result of that I left home at an early age.”
Following the hardship associated with being incarcerated, he was blessed that someone came into his life that believed in him. “Leigh-Ann Sparks was one of the most influential people in my life. She is a recovery service coordinator at the Western Regional jail and was my introduction to the REAL LIFE Program.”
Cory continues, “I had never been offered such an opportunity before, she stuck with me through the difficult times even when she could have kicked me out a bunch of times,” he said. “If it wasn’t for Leigh-Ann I would not be part of REAL LIFE today.”
“I want the world to know that I am actually a nice guy, very intelligent and went to school but I just don’t like people judging me by my outward or inner appearance, and don’t judge my past or future.” he said. Cory indicated that when people Judge him based on his appearance, “I tend to lash out but that is what keeps me away from people because I am afraid of negative feedback, that is why I keep my life private.”
His advice for the younger generation practicing his previous lifestyle is to “listen to all the positive people in your life, stay away from all negative nonsense even if it comes from your family. That is the principal to success.”
Cory’s life was changed by another person’s confidence in him. His hope is to change another person’s life in the REAL LIFE Program. Cory said, “I want people to know that I am very grateful for the RAL LIFE program, it really works!” Cory hopes to use the example of the grace he received from others, as his super-power to help those in need.