How long has it been since you were released?
I was released on August 5, 2013, so I’ve been out a little more than five years.
What do you do for work, and what do you find most rewarding about your job?
I work for a local company and I perform a wide variety of tasks for the owner, from administrative work to direct sales. I will always love administrative work because I enjoy imposing order on chaos — something I was never able to really accomplish in my regular life. I’m really enjoying the sales work more than I expected. I like the in-depth product knowledge. I like connecting with our customers and bringing a little joy to their hearts.
Tell us about the volunteer work you do and why you do it.
I have volunteered with Truth Be Told on several different projects. I worked closely with other volunteers to put together a very interactive graduate-level reentry class for women who have graduated from other Truth Be Told classes and are nearing their release dates and need assistance in lining up the dots to go back into the community. This is a very necessary, worthwhile class to continue to fine-tune, because these are precisely the skills they will need immediately upon release.
This fall, I’m also a facilitator-in-training for Truth Be Told’s “Let’s Get Real” program at Lockhart prison, and next year I’ll be the lead facilitator. I do this work because it is the best of me, staying connected and involved. It keeps me engaged and grounded.
What was your experience with Truth Be Told while you were incarcerated, and what did gain from it?
I took Talk to Me Speaking twice — once in the fall of 2012 and again in the spring of 2013. The experience changed my life in many ways. For one thing, Truth Be Told showed me how to live a life of authenticity. I was already struggling to understand who I was and how I wanted to change and become in my new life, and my Truth Be Told family has always worked hard to help me understand how to do that.
I learned that owning your truth is powerful, because no one can ever take it away from you. And if you accept all the facets of who you are, you will be able to shape them into the person you want to be. The only thing stopping me from doing that is me.
Aside from your time in Truth Be Told classrooms, do you have any other good memories of prison?
I remember this one time, for some reason I was out on what we called “the street” — which is the main walkway between all the buildings. It was very early in the morning. I probably had a mailroom pass. And while I was walking down the street, I suddenly found myself walking straight into the sunrise. It took the guard forever to open the gate for me, but I didn’t care. I could have stood there forever. I truly felt a line of connection between me and every other soul on Earth, and it felt like I was expanding and expanding to hold all of that love and power in my head and my heart. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my whole life, and it happened when I was looking at the world through prison fences.
Why are organizations like Truth Be Told important and worth supporting?
Personally, I think Truth Be Told should be available to free-world people too. I think a good, solid 14 weeks in a Truth Be Told classroom would really help people in all walks of life to be more authentic, and, therefore, we could get a lot more things done in this world.
I realize that sounds simplistic, but I’m more serious than you think. I would love to design a real-world format, maybe start by partnering Truth Be Told with another organization and adjust the curriculum to fit people who are no longer in a physical prison, but who are nevertheless in a cage of their own making.
What else do you want people to know about you?
I’m human. I’m a wife, a mother and a grandmother, a daughter and an aunt. I have made good decisions and bad ones, and I have not always made those decisions with the degree of concern about my loved ones that I should have, and, consequently, I have really hurt the people I love the most. But the bad decisions I have made are not the sum total of who I am. The crime I committed does not explain, and is not even relevant anymore, to the person I am today. Truth Be Told continues to assist me in recognizing the human in myself. I will be eternally grateful.
Honor Laurie 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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