Milestones: The Challenges of Making Comebacks from Setbacks
My name is Dean Pratt.
When you do real time, you walk out, you don’t know what to expect. I’m a 52 year old ex felon from Crofton, Maryland. Before I was incarcerated, life: I grew up in a fantastic household, had great parents, have fantastic brother and sister. I was married, I went to high school, was married for almost 20 years, 19 years, together for 25, have two fantastic children. I am divorced. I had a career path, and life was fantastic for most of it.
Tragically, I also had a 30 year love affair with crack cocaine.
I was arrested for robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts. I woke up on the floor of my condo, and apparently
I had robbed two hair salons with a steak knife. I found out about LINC approximately six months, seven months before my release; I’d been transferred from Johnston County Prison to Wilmington O25. When I got to Wilmington, I’d found out when I actually read the local Wilmington newspaper. They had talked about a grant program and that the local college had received a grant to help inmates as they go back into society.
I go to school. I actually got through this program. I’m a certified peer support specialist. I will be starting with the Pathways Home 2 program a week from Monday. My goal was to become, for lack of a better term, my goal was to become the poster child for the program.
I wanted to be the guy they could go to for anything.
My name is Anthony Still.
I was actually living in Winnebow. I was in the process of absconding from previous probation, so I stayed off the grid for about two years, learning a trade. I picked up a fencing and just kind of did that and kind of stayed low, tried to stay sober, but was completely not in compliance with my probation.
I knew I’d have to face it eventually, again, I made it two years and I had a traffic stop, so I was incarcerated right after that. So I was incarcerated for larceny. This was an old charge from, like, back in 2019 when I was in active addiction before I got sober.
I heard about LINC through another program called A Pathway Home 2. That’s a coordinated program that partners with LINC to help individuals who are coming out of incarceration, getting educational, training, employment, and, of course, housing. That’s what LINC is providing here as well. So I heard about them – or LINC – through them, and they opened the door for that here.
I’ve been incarcerated before and I’ve never transitioned right. It’s never been a smooth transition. It’s never been a sober transition. It always escalates back into some foolishness. This has been a great opportunity for me because it has provided stability, kind of given me an anchor where I can go build and do what I need to do in the world. But I always have like a home base to come back to, somewhere safe, to come back to where I know that I can stay focused and regroup and prepare for the next day.
Don’t be afraid to ask. And that’s something that I know as men, a lot of times we just kind of fall back and we’ll be quiet and then we’ll be mad because things didn’t work out like we wanted, but we never reached out for the help.
So don’t be afraid to ask.
Like I said, if you ask one person and then ask another person, there’s resources all over the place. So that’s important right here. And be patient. Be patient and let God do what He said He’s going to do. That’s the key. And in spite of our mess, God shows up. It’s not about all the time us do, do this or be, be that. It’s sometimes, just trust Him.
My name is Hayley Vandergrift.
I’m a resident case manager here at the Marvin E. Roberts Transitional Living Campus. I became involved with LINC back in 2018. I delivered a baby girl. I was heavily addicted to all kinds of drugs. I was homeless. I didn’t receive any prenatal care during my pregnancy.
And after I had her, and the state stepped in and took custody, I was accepted into another program, the Tides program. And their program was so new that they didn’t have housing ready yet. They had housing, it just wasn’t livable yet. So they partnered with LINC and they allowed me to reside here with the baby under24/7 supervision until the housing and my otherprogram was ready about seven months later. So I lived here about seven months altogether with the baby.
Being at LINC has opened more doors than I could have ever imagined. If somebody would have told me then, back in 2018, that I would be on staff here now, I probably would have laughed at them just because that just wasn’t where my brain was. My brain was in recovery and focusing and just trying my best not to go back down that road of addiction. And so to be able to be on staff here now, it just opened a lot of doors, a lot of resources, a lot of networking, connecting with people in the community and things like that.
It still feels a little strange sometimes. My office is two doors down from where my room was when I stayed here. So it’s really surreal. There’s a lot of staff here that were here when I was a resident, and so now it was kind of like that. Adjusting of looking at them as staff and now looking at them as coworkers and learning to communicate with them, it’s wonderful because I learned so much. There’s such talented people here as far as staff and just learning how to best help people.