Spotlight Stories

Priscilla

{#/pub/images/Priscilla2cropped.jpg}Priscilla, the oldest of five children, grew up in Queens, NY.  The victim of abuse, her mother moved the family several times, trying to keep her children safe.  Despite her mother’s efforts, Priscilla found herself always hanging with the “wrong crowd.”  She began experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and at the age of 20, had her first child.  A high school dropout without any source of income, Priscilla began selling drugs to support her son.  However, her own drug habit escalated and she found herself in and out of jail frequently. Over the next 10 years, Priscilla continued to use and sell drugs, had three more children, eventually losing custody of the youngest two.  She was spiraling out of control.

Feeling like a failure and facing serious jail time in January, 2011, Priscilla was faced with a critical decision: continue on the path she was on, knowing she was a disappointment to her mother, and not there for her children, or finally get clean.  She enrolled in a 28-day addiction program and although many times she wanted to quit, she remained focused and got her certificate!  It was at this moment Priscilla realized that her changes needed to be permanent.  She made a commitment to herself to move her life forward.  She enrolled in a Mommy and Me program to regain custody of her youngest daughter, and began classes at Oasis to get her GED.  Attending classes faithfully and working very hard, Priscilla passed her GED in less than one year!  She was so proud; the first person she called was her mother! 

Today, just one year after finding Oasis, Priscilla is exactly the person her mother always knew she could be.  She has custody of two of her children, a full time job, an apartment, and a bright future.  Priscilla recently conveyed her experience at Oasis: “The sympathy and love Oasis has for all the women in class made me love coming here every day.  The teachers taught me a lot.  This place is awesome!  I tell everyone about Oasis.”

 

Samantha

Spotlight Stories OasisSamantha's journey began in Newark, where she was born. She was raised by abusive alcoholic parents. She moved in with her grandmother at age 9 when her parents lost their lives to alcohol.

While living with her grandmother, Samantha was sexually abused by her uncle's friends. The abuse continued until age 15 - about the time she started drinking. By age 18, she started abusing drugs - first crack, then cocaine. It did not take long until she was stealing to support her habbit.

At age 21, Samantha had her first child. She continued to have 6 more children by 6 different men, Her drug use prevented her from raising her children - all of which were taken away by the foster care system. Samantha tried to quit, but she never stayed clean long, She began the cycle of drugs and stealing for drugs.  Eventually, she was found guilty of 18 different charges and was sent to jail.

In 2009, Samantha was released to a pre-probation facility in Paterson. Through the facility, she was given the opportunity to attend Oasis' GED classes. At Oasis, she took computer classes and then enrolled in the Workplace Readiness Program. A year later, Samantha passed her GED!

Samantha has been drug-free for 3 years now and has moved to Delaware for a fresh start. She is employed and is currently working with a case manager to become a Medical Assistant. Through Oasis, Samantha found hope for a better future.

  

Grissed   Click to view larger

Grissed came to Oasis in September 2011, after dropping out of high school 13 years ago when she became pregnant with her first child.  She was overwhelmed, lost focus on school and gave up on her education. Struggling with her self-esteem, while raising four children, including a newborn at the age of 29, she decided to make some changes in her life.  Always wanting to get her GED, a local agency referred her to Oasis.  When she arrived at our doorstep, she was eager to succeed and struggling to make ends meet.  Although her husband works hard to support their four children, there is just not enough financially for a family of six.  Determined to not give up on her dream, she enrolled in education classes at Oasis.  By staying focused, attending classes faithfully, studying hard, and seeking the help she needed from her teachers, Grissed attained her GED in one year!

Today...she is 107 lbs lighter, is currently attending Passaic County Community College to get a nursing degree, is enrolled in Oasis Computer Training Program to sharpen her skills, all while raising four young children and working nights at the Garden State Plaza to help support her family.

When asked what the driving force that changed her life was, Grissed replied, "Oasis changed my life.  It was because of all the support I got from my teachers and childcare staff that I was able to succeed.  I worked really hard and they supported me every step of the way.  My GED Certficate is hanging on the wall in my home, I am so proud of it!  I want all my children to see what I accomplished and work hard so that they too can go to college.  Most importantly, I don't want my 12 year old daughter to make the same mistakes I did.  I know that what I have been able to achieve this year has made her so proud of me!  I am so grateful."