Toya Henderson: I was introduced to Ms. Denise Jones 10 years ago; she was assigned to me as a TASC Recovery Coach by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. My life had become completely unmanageable due to my uncontrollable drug addiction, and everyone was aware of this but me. Years before I began to use drugs, I experienced two extremely violent relationships that drastically changed my life but not for the good. I was one who believed that I could fix and control everything in my life myself. Then, I met Denise. I was at risk of losing my children, barely had a roof over my head, no job, family and friends were no longer a major factor, and I began to lose hope.
Denise was very stern and straight forward, at times she was cold because I played games, but yet tender in heart. She never gave up on me. She was brutally honest, genuinely concerned, and very much committed to seeing that the both of us met our goal.
Ten years ago, I made a powerful decision to live. I am a productive member of society, a proud devoted parent of 6, ages twenty-four through nine years of age. I've proudly supported my oldest son through college, followed by his 18 year old brother who is now attending his first year. I also have 3 beautiful girls who will continue this successful journey, paving the way for my 9 year old baby boy.
I am caring for my grandmother, the same angel that took on the responsibility of co-parenting my three youngest children and giving me what could have been my last opportunity to rebuild my life inside and out. My desire is to work with domestic violence women. Today and every day, I will continue to put God first. I thank the lord for allowing Denise to come into my life, I'm grateful for a 2nd chance. Over the past ten years we have bonded, she's like my big sister. My grannie and I have nothing but love for her, she desired and caring heart wanted nothing but the best for me. She has strengthened my life in so many ways, I now know who against hope, believe in HOPE. Thank you, Niece.
- Toya Henderson
Hello my name is Ruth Sole; I will describe how I come to know this wonderful woman Ms. Denise Jones. In 2001 she was assigned by the Illinois Department of Children Family Services (DCFS), as my TASC Recovery Coach. At that time I had no foundation in my life, my current lifestyle style was that of a drug addict and prostitute. I lost my seven children to the system, as well as losing my mother and brother.
I felt hopeless; I had no one who neither believed in me nor wanted to see me do better. Ms. Jones gave me a chance, God used her in my life, and she worked with me until I grab hold to this thing called HOPE and this motivated me to CHANGE.
Today my life is much better than it has ever been. My daughter Angel is back in my custody, which is now 12 years old and about to enter high school. And, for me I am 6 months away from graduating from college as a criminal justice attorney for children. My desire is to give back to the community. Thank you Ms. Jones for all your help, you saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. Failure Is Not An Option.
- Ruth Sole
Annie M. Freeman 69 years old mother of seven beautiful children, is telling her story of how living in a dysfunctional home, being molested and getting pregnant at the tender age of 13 drove her to abandon her children and live as a lesbian, pimping women and using drugs.
In 1981 Annie gave her life to the Lord and he restored her. She was given a 2nd chance by her children who now respect her and gladly call her “Mother”. In Annie own words, I’ve been called a lot of things but never “Mother”. Every time I hear one of my children say “Mother” tears are brought to my eyes, my heart is ever rejoicing. God allowed me to work for Chicago Board of Education as a teacher’s aide for 25 years and the University of Chicago Hospital in transportation until I retired. Today, I am sharing my story to whomever and whenever God open a door. My desire is that I reach that one that is living in my past shoes, that they made take hold to “HOPE” as I did.
- Annie M. Freeman