Learning from Laura, part two

Published 11:06 am Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life was looking up for Laura when once again, darkness settled in and through a series of health issues, she ended up addicted to opiates, which in turn led her back to the same drug that had destroyed her life before she had gone to prison.

She lost her job, her car, her home and, most importantly, her family. Back again were those same feelings from old: darkness, emptiness, shame, guilt, hopelessness and misery.

Now in the same situation as before, things became worse due to her being in a relationship that reeked of domestic violence. Beaten and battered, she began to give up all hope.

Laura ended up violating her parole and landed back in prison, where she served the remainder of her time. Upon release, her mother found a place in Bessemer called The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center, a long-term faith based recovery program.

While there, Laura became reacquainted with God, who she learned was generous in his love and mercies.

Towards the end of her stay at The Foundry, Laura was sent to see an Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Vocational Rehab Counselor who began helping her find employment, but with her substance abuse and criminal background, she was unsuccessful.

The counselor made the decision to send Laura to Easter Seals of the Birmingham area for assistance with job placement and to brush up on her computer skills. She came to Easter Seals for her enrollment interview and was to begin Business Education classes; however, Laura was in a situation where she needed a job to pay rent. Laura’s placement specialist was diligent in working with her to find employment and was able to schedule an interview for Laura with a local church.

Before the interview took place, Laura’s placement specialist decided to look internally at Easter Seals for a possible paid work experience position when she found there was a desperate need for an administrative assistant.

The next week Laura began her journey with Easter Seals and three months later was employed as a full-time staff member. Laura now has her own house, a car, her family back in her life and is one of the most pleasant and positive people you will ever meet. With every smile, it is easy to see that Laura is grateful for the opportunity she’s been given to provide hope and guidance.

After hearing Laura’s story, I realized that the daily challenges I face were small in comparison to what others might be facing.

Many people talk about making changes in their life. Rarely do you meet someone that has the courage to actually stand up and make it happen.

Kelli Keith is director of marketing and development for Easter Seals of the Birmingham area. You can reach her at 314-2187.