How long has it been since you were released from prison?
I have been free since November 3, 2014.
Describe your life these days.
Whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, I am just grateful and happy. My grandchildren are my world! I work as an administrative assistant at Integral Care, which is the Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA). Each county in Texas has an LMHA, and we’re the one for Travis County! We provide psychiatric evaluations, 24-hour crisis interventions, medication treatment, employment and vocational services, family support and respite care, housing information, referrals and a lot more. I assist clients who have psychiatric and substance abuse needs. What I find most rewarding about my job is getting to work directly with our clients.
Do you volunteer your time?
Yes, I volunteer for Truth Be Told, and I do it to stay grounded and focused and to remember how far I have come. My sister, who also lives in Austin, is also a graduate from several Truth Be Told classes, and now that we are both free we often volunteer together. We’ve represented Truth Be Told at community events and fundraisers. This past spring, we performed a skit called “Internal Duet” for the 2018 Leadership Austin class during its Criminal Justice Day. The skit, written by a Truth Be Told graduate who is still incarcerated at Bryan Federal Prison Camp, was written to be a conversation between the head and the heart. I played the role of the head; my sister represented the heart. We were a huge hit at Leadership Austin, and because of that event we also got to perform at Truth Be Told’s Community of Changemakers fundraiser this past May.
This past July, I completed my volunteer training with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), so very soon I will be an approved volunteer. I will walk through the front door of the prison as a volunteer, not as an inmate. My sister and I will be presenting “Internal Duet” at Lockhart women’s prison in December. Truth Be Told has a holiday program for incarcerated women called “Miracles in Human Form,” and we will be a part of this annual event.
How has Truth Be Told been a changemaker in your life?
I participated in the Talk to Me Speaking program while at Lockhart prison. This class gave me the opportunity to learn Toastmaster skills and share the story of what I believe put me on a path to prison. Because of Truth Be Told, I was able to set my truth free, and it changed me for the better. I now can say “no” without feeling guilty, and I don’t have to pretend that my life is perfect.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about the incarcerated population?
I feel the biggest misconception people have is that we are all bad people, no matter our crimes, and that we will never change, no matter how much rehabilitation we receive. I just want people to know that good people can be incarcerated. We all make mistakes. Some people get caught; some don’t.
Honor Kimberly by helping Truth Be Told raise $10,000 in 10 Days between Sept 15-24. All gifts made during this 10-day campaign will DOUBLE in size, thanks to a matching pledge of up to $10,000! Your gift will ensure that Truth Be Told continues to provide safe community and healing programs to nearly 1,000 justice-involved women every year! Click on $10,000 in 10 Days to make your gift today!
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