By Fortune Society Staff
Personally and professionally, education opens endless doors. At Fortune, we strive to give each participant in our reentry programs learning paths tailored for their success in the community. Each day, with the support of our Education program staff, participant Felicia Allen is opening more opportunities to a brighter future. “I just love school. I don’t mind coming here,” she says. “I like the atmosphere. They don’t treat me any kind of way, like I’m an outcast.”
A sense of belonging was missing from previous programs Felicia joined, but at Fortune, we make it a primary goal. Our teachers, many of whom have justice involvement experience, take their time—each lesson has the potential to transform lives.
“I love my teachers because when I don’t understand something and just freeze, and I get frustrated and they see it in me, then they [say] ‘OK Felicia, I’m going to take my time. What do you not understand?’ They dedicate their time, they put everything else on freeze, and they explain it to me.”
Felicia specifically credits Education Program Director Brittany Smith and Teacher Jim Hattan for being beacons of light. They make challenging subjects like math easier to grasp. With their help, she is steps closer to obtaining her High School Equivalency diploma.
With a life hindered by substance use, leading to a year spent in a court-mandated program, Felicia knows that a diploma is her ticket to obtaining job security, something that she has yet to experience. Though she is fortunate to have systems of support on the side lines, her path to success is ultimately one she has to endure alone.