By: Jessica L. Henry
My name is Jessica Louise Henry. I am a 39-calendar year-previous lady born and lifted in Detroit. Soon after foster care, juvenile detention facilities, teenager being pregnant, a few rehabs, numerous therapists, eight jail terms, and two jail bids, my existence experienced grow to be scattered. I have a visual of playing cards unfold haphazardly throughout the flooring with quite a few unanswered “whys” that have piled up all through my existence.
I could inform you about myself, but right until you truly sit down and get to know me for your self, you may perhaps not be in a position to absolutely enjoy my tale. I am far more than just my errors or my broken record. I am a lot more than a statistic or the stigma that society has taken on by itself to put on me. While words fall short to express the benefit of my encounter, my steps do far far more justice.
Schooling has always been an crucial section of my upbringing, even all through the trauma, neglect, and incarceration. In reality, mainly because of the incarceration, my schooling turned a priority. In the course of my to start with prison bid I was equipped to get paid my GED at age 32 soon after becoming out of faculty for 16 decades. I had hopes of continuing my instruction upon my launch, but my plans have been hindered by barriers and self-sabotage. When I started my next jail bid, I was ready in a new way. My coronary heart was in it. My soul was completely ready for redemption. Soon after staying stripped of my dignity, worth, humanity, and worth thanks to my incarcerated state, I felt that I could reclaim what was taken by accomplishing greatness via my educational good results.
In January of 2017, I was approved to Jackson College’s 2nd Opportunity Pell plan wherever I completed a few associate’s levels by August of 2019. I graduated with a 3.96 GPA and walked across the stage with High Honors. I individually obtained again all my dignity, benefit, humanity, well worth and extra. I even shook the Warden’s hand proudly. It is notable to mention that my overall graduating class graduated with Large Honors that working day, all seventeen women of all ages.
The worth that this program has introduced to my lifetime is extra than I have gotten in any of my existing on-campus classes. Getting in the jail setting, I experienced a chance to master with gals who have been by means of lifetime-altering activities. We acquired jointly with the curriculum and with our activities in head. We learned with pen and paper, our study course resources, and tiny to no technological know-how. The intimacy of our classroom, the college students and professors integrated, are not able to be matched any where else.
I now go to Spring Arbor College earning my bachelor’s in Social Operate with a double minimal in Psychology and Organization. I will graduate in the spring of 2023 and go on to get my Learn of Social Function (MSW). I can honestly say that now I have those people scattered cards in my hand, and I can comprehend the “why” of it all. I know that people struggles have geared up me for this minute in my existence, providing back by way of social function. I know that I have been geared up to support these who have or are battling to uncover the aid they require to get back on their toes. Thanks to my schooling and the prospects the Second Opportunity Pell system afforded me throughout my incarceration I can say that I am back again on my ft.