~ Shauna Souders' story ~
"Hello everyone! My name is Shauna Souders and I graduated the HOPE for Prisoners Workshop October of last year. Let me first tell you a little bit about myself and what my life was like before I came to HOPE ....
I was once married, had two little boys, owned my own home, etc... However, I found myself in the grips of a drug addiction and in time, I lost everything! I wound up homeless and sleeping in a park on Boulder Highway. I was in a very dark place, one that I thought I would never escape from! I was a slave to my addiction and drugs were my master.
In time, the way I was living caught up with me. I was arrested for Fraud, Forgery and Drug Trafficking. When I got out of prison, I went straight to a sober living house. I was, by the Grace of God, able to stay clean... but that was it. I was struggling!
I had a hard time looking myself in the mirror because of the guilt and shame of the things I had done. I had very little hope that things would get better, and honestly, I truly didn't believe I even deserved a better life. And because I could not find a company willing to hire me, my Parole Officer referred me to HOPE for Prisoners ... Something I now thank God for everyday!
The Workshop at HOPE impacted my life in more ways than I could possibly list, but most importantly, it changed my mindset, my entire way of thinking. By the end of the class, I was charged up, ready to take on life and ready to look the world in the eyes with my head held high!
Within a week of graduation from HOPE's Workshop, I got hired for an entry-level commission based position. Most days I made less than minimum wage, but you know what ... I was grateful! I am still working for the same company today. I have been promoted into a position that was created for me. I am making good money now and am happy that I stuck it out.
I treated each day as though it was my dream job. I was early every morning, stayed late every day, and I was always eager to go above and beyond my job description - and I have been blessed as a result! I saved up, got my license reinstated, got a car and an apartment. In faith, I actually got a two-bedroom apartment. I set up the second bedroom for my children even though I do not have custody of them, but I am happy to say that they have spent many happy nights in that room!
My life is moving forward at a very rapid pace and I am thrilled! Not only am I living my "vivid vision," but in many ways I have surpassed the goals I had set for myself. I am ready to raise the bar!
I have learned that you will never go farther than you believe you can. To reach your highest potential you have to surround yourself with people that push you forward and make you better ... and that is what HOPE for Prisoners is for me. The people at HOPE are my friends, my teachers, my mentors, and my family. A huge “thank you” from the bottom of my heart to everyone involved with this program. Thank you for believing in Mr. Jon Ponder's vision and for impacting so many lives."