HERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT STORIES OF YOUNG WOMEN WHO HAD THINGS REALLY HARD IN THEIR UPBRINGING AND THEIR LIVES HAVE BEEN TRANSFORMED BY KIND, GENEROUS AND CARING PEOPLE THEY CAME INTO CONTACT WITH. IT'S A STRESSFUL WORLD WE'RE LIVING IN FOR MOST PEOPLE AND SOME CHILDREN HAVE A ROUGH START IN LIFE WITH NO CHOICE IN WHO THEIR PARENTS SHOULD BE. OFTEN THIS PASSES THE KNOWLEDGE AND ATTENTION OF PEOPLE, EVEN NEARBY SOMETIMES. WHEN DISCOVERING THESE ARTICLES, I JUST HAD TO POST THEM (previously). I FELT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE THEM IN ONE POST TODAY IN THE INTEREST OF GOODWILL FOR THOSE WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE THAN OURSELVES AND A TOKEN OF CARING FOR THESE KIDS - TO ME, THEY ARE VERY SPECIAL!
Tory Was Battling Drug Addiction And In Jail When One Chance Led Her To A ‘New Life’
By Herlyn Kaur - ABC July 2020
Tory Puntigam-Locke has come a long way from where she was only a year ago. The 27-year-old was addicted to drugs and serving a prison sentence at Perth's Melaleuca Women's Prison at that point.
"My family has been quite dysfunctional, there's been violence, there's been addiction throughout my family," she said. "I fell pregnant at 17 and I was made to abort that baby and I self-harmed."
A stint in a mental institution followed but things did not improve after Ms Puntigam-Locke got out. "I was looking for something to escape all that guilt and pain and for a while nothing really worked and then I found meth," she said. "Basically, I was running from myself and from the guilt of my past. I didn't know any better, I didn't know there was help out there."
And then she found the one thing that turned her life around.
Wandoo Offers A Way Back
The Therapeutic Community Program at Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison for women is run by non-for-profit organisation Cyrenian House in conjunction with the Department of Justice. According to the WA Government, it's Australia's first voluntary drug and alcohol rehabilitation program run in a prison.
Inmates have to volunteer to join to show they are ready and willing to make a change.
Ms Puntigam-Locke completed the program less than a year ago and is now one of 109 graduates from the facility.
"[It] feels amazing, I've been given a new life and a life that I wouldn't even have dreamed of," she said.
"I have savings for the first time, I can go to the shops and buy whatever I want, not live from pay cheque to pay cheque or go out and spend everything on drugs.
"It's the first time in my life I've achieved anything. It's the first time in my life I'm actually proud to stand up and say, 'I was an addict and I overcame something."
Seizing 'a second chance'
For most ex-prisoners, finding a job on the outside is their biggest hurdle.
But Ms Puntigam-Locke said she had been lucky enough to get another chance at life.
At the local cafe where she has found work, owner Jackie Madeley said a criminal history should not matter.
"She's amazing, she's the most effervescent person I think I've ever met, she's got a lovely nature with customers," Ms Madeley said.
"She's been very honest with me as her employer and I appreciate that. What happened with Tory in the past is her past."
"I was looking for someone who could do the job, I was looking for someone who had the personality and I believe everybody should be given a second chance."
Reoffending rates 'astonishingly low' Just days ago, Wandoo Rehabilitation Prison celebrated two years of running the program.
WA Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan said it had seen major success rates, with only one of its graduates landing back in prison.
Inspired By The Kindness Of Strangers Kamilah Finds Her Way To A Better Life
By WBUR.ORG Kind World
Kamilah was homeless for much of her late teens, after family and mental health issues drove her away from home. She remembers that during that time, she never felt safe and never got a good night’s sleep.
One early winter morning, Kamilah woke up freezing cold after sleeping in a soaking-wet sleeping bag all night. She decided to go into a nearby laundromat to try to get warm.
With only 10 cents on her, Kamilah couldn’t afford to run the dryer, but she put her sleeping bag in anyway in an attempt to look like she belonged there. One woman noticed Kamilah’s predicament and approached her.
“She gave me a loving look,” Kamilah told us, “and pulled out a $20 bill and said, ‘Here you go, sweetheart, get whatever you need to today.’”
Kamilah was overwhelmed with joy. She rushed next door to get a cup of coffee and some change to run the dryer, and when she came back, every single person in the laundromat came up to her and gave her something to help her get by.
Kamilah said she lived through a lot of scary things during her three years of homelessness, but what really stayed with her were the hundreds of kind people she met along the way.
That morning at the laundromat, she said it was like something finally clicked. The shame she felt about her situation had made it hard to reach out, but the kindness these strangers showed her helped her shift her perspective.
“It was acts of kindness that got me out of homelessness,” Kamilah said. “I started realizing it is OK to get help and to ask for help.”
And she did get help. Within five days, a chain of strangers and acquaintances all worked to get Kamilah on a flight back to her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, where friends put her up while she got back on her feet.
It’s been eight years since that day. Now, Kamilah has a 5-year-old daughter, a fiancé and a much better relationship with her family. She also finished her first year of college with a 4.0 GPA, and she just got elected student body president. Her plan is to become a therapist and help patients work through trauma.
“I really love people, and I want to help them in their lives the way that I've been helped,” Kamilah said. “I think everybody has a story. Everybody has value.”
ALL THE BEST TO YOU TORY AND KAMILAH!
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