After years of being in prison, I didn’t know what to expect at Dismas House. I was scared of failing there: I’ve had no day to day responsibilities for a long time. But, I have one responsibility that is with me for life: my beautiful daughter Ashley.

In prison, I learned to be very cautious, and aware of my surroundings. I also become a little judgmental. When I was told that Dismas had a way that my daughter could come to visit, my reaction was “no way”. I couldn’t imagine any situation there that I would want her exposed to “in that kind of environment”.

Well, when I got to Dismas, I found things were different than I had imagined. They made me feel as much as possible that this was my home. The people here are people just like me, who want someone to give them a chance.

And I felt comfortable when I found out what I had to do to have my daughter visit. At first, there is a lot of paperwork, and discussions with Parole and Probation, her mother, Dismas, and me.

I think Ashley was uncomfortable at first, but everyone was so good to her that she enjoys coming here now. She comes here twice a week now, every week. She really likes sitting down at the table with us and eating dinner like a family.

I’m really glad I gave Dismas a chance because it has brought my family and me together. Being with my daughter is the best possible situation for us both. I’m very grateful to the Dismas community for ensuring that my child and I can spend time together each week. It means more than you know.