I am 24 years old and to my knowledge from 1996-2015 I have obtained 17 felonies and 2 misdemeanors because of choices my father made. My father is 53 years old, and still has not realized that every time he chooses to go to jail he takes me along with him. No, I haven’t literally been obtained 17 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, however when most offenders reflect back on the choices and decisions that played a part in their incarceration, they often forget to think about the children and loved ones who suffer because of them. Every time someone goes to jail they unknowingly take along everyone who loves them behind steel bars for the ride. My father is currently incarcerated and has been incarcerated 98% of life. Growing up not knowing anything about the man who contributed to my being other than his name has always been difficult. Often times I wondered if while he was in the midst of his addiction if he remembered or cared when it was my birthday or if he thinks about me at all. During this course of time I have experienced mental, emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. My daily fight includes but is not limited to getting blood transfusions as well as overcoming multiple serious health adversities in addition to striving to be the best asset to myself, society and other ultimate at risk children that I can be. It is my lifetime goal to strive and be the example that lets them know that they do not have to be there parents or anything like them. They can CHOOSE to be great. Stepping out on faith and trusting Ms.Gambrell was the best decision I could’ve made for my life without it I would’ve died. I am a proud graduating senior of The Class of 2007. I have since continued my college education at Houston Community College, and l am perusing my associates and later bachelors in juvenile criminal justice system. After being employed with NFISD until is dissolve in 2013 my doctors decided that I needed a permanent break from work until my blood disorder could be controlled at the minimum. I have since had 6 surgeries and have a possible 3 more in front of me in the future. No More Victims Inc. and Ms. Gambrell have instilled in me the two most valuable life skills any human should possess and that’s one, “Because I exist makes me PRICELESS, and that I am ABSOLUTLEY precious.” and the second being that I deserve nothing less than to be loved. In her abilities to love me she gave me the one thing that I couldn’t give myself and that is the drive and strength to choose life over death and incarceration. It is my goal to continue to move pass the odds that society said would kill me 9 years ago and prove to the world while encouraging others that my father’s mistakes DO NOT determine my future or my destined destination. I owe my existence to NMVI. It gave me life even when I tried to take it from myself. I learned that I no longer need the validation of others and that I am enough to validate myself. I have my own voice and what I think and feel is real and my feelings are valid. Until I met Ms.Gambrell I didn’t think I would even live to be sixteen. I’ve come to find out through my experience with NMVI that most children of incarcerated parents don’t think they’ll live to be eighteen. I never thought I would graduate, or be worthy enough of love. I was constantly reminded that failure is all that I could, and would amount to because I look just like my father. Everything that I was big and bad enough to do I did; and that which I wasn’t I was definitely bold and brave enough to try it. I stopped contributing to things that took life from me such as cutting and, burning myself. NMVI by definition is the perfect meaning of love. I am so proud to be a part of a family that’s more than titles and statistics. I love being able to support other children who are just like me, those who are hurting and dealing with life circumstances like I have dealt with. I am stopping the madness and I am proud to be a chain breaker. I am LaVoshea Hendry and I am NO LONGER A VICTIM. I Succeeded. I am a Conqueror, and I beat the odds. Prison is not an option for life.
LaVoshea Hendry, Legend Family Member, 10 1/2 years