Here, two people we know describe how someone helped them change their life stories. Pharaoh’s Daughter aims to do the same for inmate mothers. Our approach lets us leverage the parent-child bond and engage two generations to break generational cycles, bringing hope and a new way of life to both the mother and her child.
I was born in New Jersey and because my mom was in prison, my grandmother raised me. My dad was killed while being robbed when I was 13 – later, at 18, I found out he was not really my dad. Drugs were around the house all the time. Prison, crime and drugs were just normal to me.
At 14 we moved to Raleigh, NC. When my mom wanted to move to Warrenton, NC, I didn’t want to leave because of school. The family of a friend offered me a place until the year was finished. With them, I learned about love, and a different way to live. School ended and I had to go live with my mom again. I was frustrated and wanted to die. After seeing how a loving family lives, I couldn’t stand being back with my family. When I was 15, my home became even more dangerous for me but again, no one rescued me and it just seemed “normal.” In high school, a caring teacher encouraged me to dream and to continue my education. At 17, I entered ECPI for massage therapy. I became discouraged with working to pay for school, going to school, and trying to find rides for school and work. During this time, another family invited me to live with them. They found a job and a car for me. They taught me to face difficult issues, to communicate effectively, to expect more for me, and that God is trustworthy and not evil. My value increased in my own eyes.
Where would I be today without help? Angry and depressed, living on welfare, no dreams, no college, no desire or skills for work, another drain on my community and . . . I would be teaching that to my son.
I was born in the early 1970’s in Henderson, NC. My mother and grandmother raised me – dinner together every night, and lots of love. We were poor, but I didn’t know it.
At 5, we lost everything when our house burned. The Methodist Church thrift shop clothed us and we began our years of living with different family members. Life changed for us after that. Family time just didn’t happen anymore.
One day an encyclopedia salesman came to our house and my mom bought the whole set. She sacrificed for that but she wanted us to read about the world. I read every one! I was hungry for knowledge but I didn’t really know what to do with it until couple of very special people came into my life. Teachers – Mr. Strum and Ms. Johnson – taught me I had potential; Coaches Davis and Martin pushed me into sports. During that time I began to spend time with families of my friends – the Branches and Fosters – and they said when you go to college, not if. I listened, and when opportunity knocked, I opened the door.
Because of my football skills, I was offered a scholarship to UNC Chapel Hill. After college, I went pro until an injury ended my career.
My mother and grandmother always wanted the best for me, but without the influences outside my neighborhood, I would never have gotten the chance to be my best.
Behind the “Dr.” is a whole lot of scaffolding and people helping. Without the intervention of so many caring people, I was destined to remain in poverty. A good man, but without the power to influence my community in the way I can today. Thank you to all those who were there for me.