Laytaisha shares her experience after exiting prison and being accepted at Beth Shalom as she worked to rebuild her life and reunite with her children. For Laytaisha, her life has been filled with many challenges. At 13 years old, she started working so she could help support her family. By 16, she was pregnant with her first of five children. The oldest is now 15 years old, while her youngest is nine months. She shares, “I started abusing drugs following my second child and by my third child, I couldn’t get myself clean and my kids were taken into custody by their grandparents. I continued to do things to support my drug habits and ended up in and out of jail.”
Reflecting on her experience so far, Laytaisha shares, “Beth Shalom has reawakened the mom in me, and it is a great feeling!” Here at Beth Shalom, “I have found a new lease on life and I’m going to take advantage of all the opportunities. I know the journey is worth the effort”. This program is vital as it provides mothers with a support system to reduce recidivism, by providing structure and a network to walk alongside them so they can succeed upon reentry. The program offers regular meetings to maintain their recovery, to build and sustain their Christian faith, to pay fines and costs, to attend classes, and to find a job.
During her time at Beth Shalom, Laytaisha has secured a job and with the assistance of Lenara, Beth Shalom’s Program Coordinator, she now has a bus pass to get to and from work. “I’m working on putting aside money to save to one day soon secure a place of my own. Ms. Lenara works with me on tips to manage my money and build my credit.” In addition, Laytaisha is also working on getting her GED and her driver’s license. “I’m motivated to complete this journey. I couldn’t do it without all the support provided me here at Beth Shalom.” Beth Shalom empowers mothers, like Laytaisha, to break this cycle, living restored lives on a path toward self-sufficiency, all while giving their children the support, love, and care they need.
Laytaisha is enjoying spending time with her newborn baby Emmanuel, during their weekly visitation. In addition, she is also working on rebuilding relationships with all of her children. “I know it will take time, but I want to be in their lives.”