My story, please feel free to share for those struggling coming out of lock up or battling other struggles like addiction, homelessness, etc. I truly have been inspired by such amazing people who’ve helped me. ~ Rhiannon Maxfield
I met Rhiannon during Chapel eight years ago at Long Creek Youth Development Center. She was a precious young women full of hope and dreams for a new life. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after leaving Long Creek before she was lost in hopelessness once again. But, dreams can come true! Here’s Rhiannon’s story. – Ken Hawley
Hello my name is Rhiannon and I’m 24 years old. I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old son. I have been living in Westbrook since I graduated a sober living transitional program. I have been continuously trying to succeed in life and the battles that come after being in and out of lock up from the age of 16 to 21 years old.
I’d like to share with you how hard life is for ex-offenders that are hopeful for a new life and dreams come true.
Job hunting was never an easy thing for me since I am a felon. I was charged with grand larceny 5 years ago when my life took a turn. I was drinking and getting involved with the wrong crowd. I turned away from God and all the things that would offer me a better life. I lost so much hope in everything including myself. Looking for housing was a struggle with my history. Going through sober living showed me a lot about how to do life, serve others and be a positive influence to my son and those around me. I have a real success story, and believe the lives of those reentering our communities from lockup could really make a positive difference if they’re given the right opportunities with programs helping ex-offenders.
I feel that if people in the community took a chance, despite their judgement, to really get to know me and others who’ve struggled getting their life right, people would soon realize we (ex-offenders) are not what so many people think. We all want to be part of the community….we want to feel welcomed and provided opportunities that others receive who have not been in the prison system.
It would be so fulfilling to NOT feel like nobody cares when we walk out of lockup. So many of us feel we leave with a label attached to us that says we are a failure… a convicted felon, so beware and stay clear. These labels and rejections make us feel hopeless in so many ways. Since being out I’ve struggled with employment, and housing because of these kind of labels that society has given me and so many others.
I wish there was a way I could have been introduced to the community when I got out so they could get to know me and the person I have now become, now that my old life is behind me. I’m not like so many think, I have so much kindness and love and compassion for those around me. Poetry was a big thing to me in lock up, it helped me realize who I am and can become.
Three years ago I was in Cumberland Country Jail while I was pregnant with my son, and my grandmother unfortunately ended up passing away. I was released the day after when I still had more time to be served there. I wish I was released on better circumstances, however, it was like a wake up moment for me. I’ve not been back since. I’ve tried to reach out to people in the community and share my story to shed some hope. I won’t say it’s easy because it’s most certainly not, especially given the judgments around us. I know from the help of many, especially people like Ken Hawley and The Transformation Project, who has done so much work to help those in similar situations, that we can really start changing the opinions so many have about us. – Rhiannon
Doesn’t Rhiannon’s story bless your heart? She says that she wishes there was a way she could have been introduced to the community when she got out of jail…so people could get to know the truth about her, because she’s not what people think. Rhiannon really is full of kindness, love and compassion for others, and she really does want to make a positive difference. The Transformation Project at 907 Main Street is not just a home, a place of employment and training ground for those coming out of corrections. It’s a place for our young x-offebders to share their story and their talents…like Rhiannon’s poetry to the community. The Transformation Project is a place where we can introduce you and our community to amazing young people like Rhiannon.
Please Pray for Rhiannon & her son, God is so not done with her story! And pray for the Transformation Project as we are trusting Him to provide needed resources to get our Reentry Center up and running soon.
The Transformation Project
A prison re-entry ministry