I want nothing more to become a productive member of society, and particularly to take care of my family. The means to do this will be in obtaining a good job, and you have given me some skills on how to do this. I have learned that I have a lot to offer. I am not just a number. I am living proof of what Ishmael’s story is about.
The greatest gift I acknowledge that this program has developed is the importance of ME to ME, that self acceptance can be wholly empowering. I can care for myself and love myself even in the face of great shame and judgment.
I gained a lot from this class but I think stability was the main thing. Reading and writing every week was something that I was not used to, so I’m happy to say I feel good about this new found me. I learned that reality changes every day and it’s up to me to accept those changes with a positive attitude. I really believe my hopes and dreams are within my grasp. I just have to stay focused and work hard.
During the course of this class, I have learned many things. I have learned the importance of setting goals for my future in order to stay motivated. I have learned the importance of a positive attitude. The most important thing I learned was how to speak publicly. This is something that I have never done before. But the best thing about this entire experience is the reminder that there are people who care. Justine and Alex never judged us for the mistakes that we made. They taught us to want more from ourselves and more out of life. This has been an experience I will never forget.
We had an assignment to read a book called A Long Way Gone. The book really opened up my eyes and heart because I always thought I had it bad, but there are lots of people out there that are in worse positions that I could ever be in. I also learned that it doesn’t matter what you been through. You can always change for the better. And that is one of the things that Focus Forward has done for me.
I gained a sense of hope for my future— my life isn’t over, it has now begun. I gained the belief that I can make a difference in this world.
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