Since entering A Way Out in August of 2009, Laketa has completed the IOP classes, graduated from HopeWorks, and completed her GED. She has also re-gained custody of her three children, and has purchased a home through Habitat for Humanity. This is Laketa’s story in her own words.
My early childhood really consisted of my mother having to go to work almost every day and leaving us by ourselves if no one could keep us. One time I got in trouble because I opened the door for this man when my mother wasn’t there. My oldest brother was busy playing football, and my mom had to go to a lot of meetings when he was trying to get drafted by the NFL. He played for the Detroit Lions and for the Green Bay Packers. They even put my mom’s picture in the paper.
My mom never really had too many men over, because after her and my dad split, I guess she didn’t want to deal with anyone else. That’s when my mom started drinking every day and playing sad songs. But I never saw her drunk. I just knew she drank.
As I became a teenager, things were pretty much the same. My mom really never taught me too much about growing up and dating except that “There’s no man in the world worth having a baby by.” That was it. I think that it wasn’t enough, because that had me scared about dating. When I finally started dating when I was nineteen, I was really naïve. My first boyfriend was a street-corner guy and he hid me in his house from his baby-mother. I didn’t really understand that he was only using me, and I didn’t think about it because I just wanted to be loved. When I realized that he didn’t care I was crushed. I started smoking weed. He had me there because he knew that I would give him money. I was working two jobs. I was a cashier at Rally’s and at the casino. Every time I got paid he was all in my face trying to be nice. I gave him money every time thinking that it would help him to love me, but it didn’t. I started drinking gin and juice. It was fun.
After I had my girls I got my own apartment. My kids’ dad was no better. After four years I broke up with him and was alone again. Me and my sister started smoking primos. Soon I had to leave my apartment because I had lost my job. I was depressed. I didn’t even go and get my unemployment and food stamps. I just stayed in the apartment and my mom would bring me food. I was completely isolated.
When I moved back home I met this older neighborhood guy that convinced me to smoke crack with a straight shooter instead of primos. I tried it. Everything went down fast. Me and my sister spent so much money we couldn’t even count it, and from there I began my life of drugs and prostitution.
After my mom died in 2005 I ended up homeless and a hopeless crack addict and prostitute. This continued for three years. I was incarcerated 13 times and would get out and go back to the street. In August of 2009, I was working in the kitchen at Penal Farm and a guard came and told me to pack up my stuff. I panicked and called a number another girl had given me. Ms. Carol was working late at CCV and answered the phone. I told her I was about to be released before we could have an interview that was scheduled the next morning at 10:00. I was scared because I didn’t want to go back to the street. Ms. Carol told me to give her 10 minutes and call back. I did and she told me that she would pick me up and that I could live at Women Ablaze while in AWO.
Since being in A Way Out I rededicated my life to the Lord, and enjoy singing to His glory. I now have a job with the Lowenstein house and am in the process of being reconciled with my kids. I am learning to be a mom to them and my heart really longs to spend time with them. The A Way Out Program has helped me get my life back and find new hope in Jesus.