Candid Conversation with PATHS Graduate Jada Vickers

Televerde Foundations’ PATHS Reentry Program helps formerly incarcerated women thrive.

Transitioning to a second chance in life can be a daunting journey, particularly for women who have been formerly incarcerated. Every woman’s experience is unique, but with the support of the Televerde Foundation and the PATHS programs, they can find the necessary guidance upon their release.

Jada Vickers, in her third month outside the prison, reflects on how time has moved differently. She feels grateful to be reunited with her children, engaged, and a homeowner after serving eight years in prison. Achieving these dreams would have been much harder, if not impossible, without a proper plan. We caught up with Jada to discuss the positive changes she has experienced since completing the PATHS Reentry program, and we could not be prouder of her. We are excited to share her story with you.

How long were you incarcerated?

I served an 8-year prison sentence in the Arizona Dept. of Corrections due to an addiction to drugs.

Tell us about your transition?

I was released on July 3rd, 2023, and began a new (the best) chapter in my life with the help of the Televerde Foundation. The biggest obstacle during my transition home was dealing with constant anxiety. Luckily, the Televerde Foundation provided me with a mentor who had gone through a similar experience a year prior and knew exactly what I was going through, providing me with the tools to overcome it. The Televerde Foundation peer support network is incredible and always available to help when needed. My case manager at Televerde Foundation stays in touch with me regularly to ensure that I have access to all the resources I might need and is always ready to lend a hand. Televerde Foundation has become like family to me, especially since I did not have much family support in Arizona. They have always been there for me without hesitation, providing me with unconditional support that has made a significant difference in my life. Without them, I do not know where I would be today.

What did the Televerde Foundations PATHS programs do for you?

PATHS stands for Prepare, Achieve, Transition for Healthy Success and the reentry programs provided me with the personal and professional development and tools I need to be successful. I learned about creating healthy boundaries and expectations with my family and how to effectively manage relationships. In financial literacy, I learned how to create a budget and abide by it while making real-world adjustments as needed. I learned how to build my resume and how to interview for the career that I want, speaking with confidence about my skills and abilities as well as my accomplishments.

What are you working on today?

Today, I am a successful Business Development Representative with the Televerde Foundation. My personal journey has been influenced by them, and they have provided me with the opportunity to create a career and build the life I desire. My responsibilities at work include establishing enduring relationships with businesses for corporate sponsorships. My job enables me to not only assist women who have been released from prison, like me, but also to change the perspectives of business leaders regarding second chances. My employment with Televerde Foundation has ignited a passion within me to open doors for more women like me and witness their growth and success. It is an incredible journey, and I am grateful for it as it is the most fulfilling experience I have ever had. There are many women like me, and I am glad to be of assistance to them.

What do you wish more people knew about incarcerated women?

I wish more people understood that being incarcerated does not necessarily mean a person is constantly living a life of violence. Some of the women who are incarcerated may have made a regrettable mistake or experienced a one-time incident that led to their imprisonment. I am grateful that the stigma around incarceration is slowly fading away, but there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of educating people about the acceptance of people who have been incarcerated. As I speak with potential corporate partners, I am encouraged by their willingness to hear our stories and learn more about areas where there might be little understanding.

What does your life look like in the future?

With the help of Televerde Foundation, I was able to create a promising path for myself, which I never thought could be possible. I am grateful for the support and tools that have been provided for me, as they have enabled me to share my story and experiences with the world. I believe that women should be given 2nd chances, and I am proud to be a living example of how these opportunities can positively impact lives. I am enthusiastic about making a difference and will continue to advocate for currently and formerly incarcerated women as I progress in my career.

What advice do you have for incarcerated women?

My advice to incarcerated women is to step out of their comfort zone and embrace new experiences. It may be daunting at first, but taking steps towards success will lead to achieving your goals. Never give up on yourself, keep pushing forward. Lastly, empower and uplift the women around you, as empowered women empower others.