Both of my parents have been in and out of prison. My mother is in prison now. As a result of my parents being locked-up, I was placed in foster care. Nothing seemed fair in my life. I was sad, scared and hurt. My parents choices and behaviors brought so much drama and trauma to my life, especially to be so young. I joined NMVI my senior year at M. B. Smiley High School, 2007. It seemed to me like I was all alone in the world and no one could understand how I was feeling. No one cared about me. Other kids that were in foster care with me that had already joined NMVI told me about the program and how much they loved it. I decided that it was something that I needed too. I was always told by family that I wasn't going to graduate from high school and I wasn't going to amount to nothing. After years of hearing the constant negativity and being abused, it deeply impacts you and how you feel about who you are. I got a totally different message from NMVI. I learned how precious I was and important that I was. I was encouraged to graduate and was told that I could be anything I wanted to be. I am such a better person now. Being with Ms. Gambrell and the NMVI children had such a major influence in my life. I did graduate. I am working. I have my own apartment. I plan to go to college. I am not going to prison. The chains of incarceration in my family line ends with me. I have great things to do in my life.
Jessica Washington, Family Member, 1 year