My name is Candice Murphy. I am 38 years old and the mother of four beautiful children. Today, I am sharing my story with you because your support can help women like me rebuild our lives.
Zion, 17, my oldest, is a junior at Roosevelt High and a captain for the cheerleading team. She received the Black Damian Lillard certificate award this year. My one and only son, Kahceem, is 14. He is in the 8th grade, mentoring 6th graders at his school. He wants to go to the NFL. My daughter Devin is 9. She is into saving her money for bigger things in life. My young child Wyzdom will be in kindergarten next year and she believes she is the black Elsa.
I’m telling you all of this because I got caught up in protecting my family from a very cruel woman in 2016. My brother couldn’t get out of a domestic situation with this young lady. I tried to do things my way, not God’s. I truly wished things were different, but they weren’t, and I wanted to live a successful life, but I didn’t. That’s how I ended up at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.
I first learned about WomenFirst mentorship in a class I attended there called AAP (African American Program). Shannon came in to share her story and her idea for mentoring women. I spent 24 months in Coffee Creek. I attended and completed a lot of classes, certifications and jobs. I took non-violent communication for 13 weeks. I am certified for peer education, for HHAAP, and a lot of other things.
I was a part of a great program called FPP (Family Preservation Project) through YWCA where I was able to see my children after a full year of very little contact. During that time, FPP put on a speaker series event and WomenFirst was there to speak and share about their program again. I was able to get my mentor request form into the chaplain to connect with WomenFirst 30 days prior to my release.
Although their criteria for their re-entry program is 6 months prior to release, they honored my form because of a miscommunication. I was truly blessed that they were able to take the time to visit with me the week before I was released from prison — they shared their contact information so I could reach out after I was released. I have now been released for 70 days, living in YWCA transitional housing through FPP.
I currently have a job at Prosperity Pies and I got that job while in prison. WomenFirst has been mentoring me with great patience, advocacy and support. FPP transition housing is only temporary for 3 to 6 months after women get out of prison after experiencing domestic violence in their past. FPP is also great because they’ve paid 3 months of my rent ($525). So, I am now living in a 5 bedroom home with 4 other women with a past life like mine.
Good family, thank god, but some good things come to an end. My children want to live with me. I want all of my children back under one roof, but I can’t afford it right now. I need more help. If I don’t let the world know my story and struggle, then I know God will not send the help I need to be successful. I’m trying my best to give my all. I have great days ahead of me, and I have challenging days too. I’ve been out 70 days and I’m proud of myself! Focusing on my children, work, groups, therapy, and self-care.
WomenFirst is working so hard for me and clients like me. They are raising money to get clean and sober long-term continuum care by purchasing housing, so that when women complete transitional housing or treatment, they can provide a place for these women to reside. There, we can continue to work on ourselves and take care of ourselves, to continue to be successful and productive citizens of our community, and to take care of our children. There, we won’t have to worry about becoming a statistic of society again or going back to our old behaviors.
Will you make a contribution to WomenFirst so they can purchase a house? Your donation will help save women like me — with your support, we can continue to rebuild our lives.
We appreciate your contribution.