Pamela: Working Toward a Brighter Future

"We need more programs like this as it has potentially saved my life and helped me make a successful transition back into society."

Success stories appear simple and efficient on paper, yet the months and years of turmoil and persistence say otherwise. Allow us to introduce Pamela, a valued employee and program member at Second Chance Initiative since January 2021. Since her start, Pamela earned a promotion to Social Media Coordinator - a role that truly complements her skill set and career ambitions. Pamela did not have an easy path to this career, however. She suffered through hardships involving her past and a global pandemic, yet her story displays the passion and sacrifice the women of the Second Chance initiative face. 

As a young woman, Pamela began taking prescription pain medications for a chronic condition. Eventually, she found herself addicted and trying many new and dangerous street drugs. “I committed several crimes, and although I was given chances to redeem myself, I failed at every attempt,” Pamela says. When worse came to worst, she received a three-year state prison sentence here in Florida. This was the time she considered to be her absolute rock bottom. 

Following her release in February 2019, Pamela struggled to return to society. She lacked confidence and found she could not communicate effectively. She attended multiple job interviews, but time after time, she had no luck.

Over one year later, Pamela was hired as a technical support specialist. This was her chance to show her talents despite the past. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic swept in and gave her employer no choice but to lay her off. In a matter of time, Pamela found a housing program for single mothers in Boca Raton, where she and her family continue to live. She found a temporary job to help her during an unexpected and unbelievable moment. Yet again, she was unexpectedly let go.

After more time and thought, Pamela says, “The universe was rewarding me for my hard work and persistence” because she eventually earned her job here at Second Chance Initiative. She started in a small, part-time position and eventually received a raise and a promotion to Social Media Coordinator. 

Amid her work here, Pamela was advised to apply for a software development boot camp. In IT, pasts are overlooked, and they are hired for skills and interests. Fortunately, Pamela was drawn to this field and recently graduated from 4Geeks Academy. She built an app and began building her electronic portfolio during this learning period. In the future, she aims to be hired as a software developer, where she can showcase her passion and talent regardless of past crimes and actions.

Pamela notes, “It is important to understand that recovery is full of ups and downs. I am counting my blessings every day and continuing to get back up after setbacks. I have had to give up friendships that didn't serve my highest good. I also put much more consideration into what I do in my free time and who I do it with. Instead of going to a happy hour on Saturday nights, you can find me at my home meeting.”

Recovery changed Pamela’s life and career paths tremendously. She never took her opportunities for granted and continued working toward the brighter future she knew she had. As someone with a past like hers, she cannot trust a degree to provide the life she wants. She continues to work tirelessly to prove that she has what it takes to make a positive difference in society. Second Chance Initiative allows her to display her skill set while learning something new and meeting different people daily. 

Pamela states that the “Second Chance Initiative promotes from within and gives a much-needed opportunity to everyone working here. We need more programs like this as it has potentially saved my life and helped me make a successful transition back into the community.” At Second Chance, promoting from within is one of our most significant goals. We prioritize each others’ recoveries as one would their career. In Pamela’s case, a massive part of her recovery was finding a passion for technology and pursuing that passion without the fear of losing something in return. Whether Second Chance is a first or a final stop on one’s recovery track, we aim to act not only as a career path for women in recovery but as a safe space that encourages these women to promote each other and themselves from within to fulfill their greatest potential.