Testimony . . . . .

Hi everybody…first I would like to thank everyone for coming here tonight. For those of you that do not know me already my name is Jared. I was asked to talk a little bit about my journey and how Building Bridges has helped me in my life.

I grew up in poverty with my family. Although I was in and out of different foster homes that were in the middle class area. But, I switched back and forth form foster care, back to my mother more times than I can think about it.

I bounced from foster family to foster family, boy’s homes, Christamore and detention centers. I acted out a lot, getting in trouble in schools, using drugs and fighting. After, I got out of Christamore, I was yet again put in another foster home and decided to run away. The police picked me up about six months later in Missouri and sent to detention. After a while, they had me sent back to Iowa and I became emancipated at the age of 16. My caseworker thought it was best because it raised many problems for me. I turned to selling meth, along with using it. I felt like I had nothing in my life and it is the one thing I had to get me the things I was missing in my life…life friends and money. I felt like people needed me since I had what I wanted. I kept that life up for quite a while. I was in and out of jail repeatedly for paraphernalia charges and finally they sent me to prison. I was charged with my third subsequent possession of paraphernalia and sentenced to five years in prison. That was September 17th 0f 2017.

While I was there I had my first “A-Ha moment”. I decided I had to change my ways if I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in and out of lock up. About fifteen months later, what I like to call a little Christmas miracle, I was released on Christmas Eve 2018.

When I was released, I was sent to Burlington residential Facility. This, in my case was not a bad ordeal. I got my family back (well that is my sister Chanelle and my nephew Reece). The first job I got: in God knows how many years, I was at Bateys sawmill in Mt. Pleasant. I worked there for just over five months until the flooding happened. Then I was laid off. But, I didn’t let that discourage me. I went and found what was as I saw it a better job opportunity working at Gregory’s in Ft. Madison.

I renewed my faith and started going back to Harmony Bible. I bumped back into Miss Mona who told me about my sister graduating from the Getting ahead Class and how she thought I might be an amazing addition to the class. As we, all know it was my best interest not to deny Mona what she wants. So, I decided to try it out and I’m so glad that I did. I found out about so many resources, that I knew nothing about. To top it all off I made so many new friendships. I also learned a great deal about families in poverty and ways to improve on certain aspects of my life to get out of poverty. My favorite thing that I learned would have to be code switching, which basically is just saying that people speak different economical classes. That is something I am able to do. From living in poverty, to middle class homes and also dealing with bosses I’ve had over the years, I can easily switch back and forth.

I’m hoping that with all the different resources I have found out about from Mona and the Building Bridges association, I won’t have any problems in my future. With, taking this class, I have learned that I don’t have to deal with my problems alone anymore. If, I need help with anything it is no more than a phone call away.

I would like to say one more thing to my friends in our class. I know all of us have our obstacles we deal with but, I know how strong we all are. If we put our minds to it, and use resources that are available we can get past the roadblocks in our paths.