Jolene Moon’s Story
Jolene’s Story was written by CEO staff member, Melissa Robinson – Adult GED Instructor & Employment Instructor at the ICCS West Women’s facility
Jolene’s story, like many others, mirrors trials and tribulations. Jolene struggled with addiction, homelessness and personal relationships her whole life. “I didn’t know how to live, I thought everyone did it.” She received her GED in 1987 and up until 1992; she had no desire to change her living habits. That was until she discovered the Bible, Church and God.
In 1992, Jolene was determined to change her life for the better and reading the Bible helped her make that change. Growing up, she didn’t have a supportive family and “lost my youth and adolescence” because of the choices she made. To this day, she reads the bible daily and has been part of church groups that have been tremendous in support, personal relationships and recovery. For Jolene, the Bible was “truth to my lies, light to my darkness” because “I was an empty shell.”
During her initial recovery, she took and completed a cosmetology class that was 14 months long, which took Jolene 2 ½ years. She studied relentlessly and at times, the going became tough but she never gave up. She also completed an office technology and business law program where Jolene earned a certificate. The class was 7 months long; it took her 14 months to complete. The class “did equip me enough to compete in the real world and gave me the belief that I could change my life.” Being the master of her own destiny was the empowerment she needed to continue her life in the right direction.
When told she would be in the SKILLS program for math, she was devastated. Earning her GED, being sober since 2004, completing a certification program and discovering purpose through religion; this was a personal and emotional setback for Jolene. Since then, Jolene has made the best out of the situation by studying weekly and completing her hours in order to post test. “The most positive thing I have going on here (ICCS) is my schooling.”
Life for Jolene has been a struggle, an uphill battle and she has had to work tremendously hard to accomplish the successes that many people take for granted. Although family has not been her main support, her parole officer took her under her wing and taught Jolene basic living skills like paying bills and living in an apartment. It was this or going back to jail. “I’ve been fighting for my life for so long; I’ve worked too hard to have someone take it away for me.”