Brooke was kicked out of the Academy once. Would she make it through a second time?
It's one thing to wish for change. It's another thing to take steps toward real transformation.
Brooke* took that first step in a jail cell, reading a biblical devotional. That's where she met Jesus and accepted Him as her Savior. With Jesus, she didn't have to face prison time alone.
Arriving at Minnesota Correctional Facility–Shakopee, she heard about the Prison Fellowship Academy®, a yearlong transformation program.
THE STARTING LINE
At select prisons across the U.S., the Academy guides men and women through targeted curricula with the help of caring staff and volunteers. Academy participants discover together how to uproot past ways of thinking and become good citizens. Embracing new values, participants have a positive influence on their peers and communities beyond graduation, in prison and out.
Soon after joining the Academy, Brooke realized that asking Jesus to be her Savior was easier than changing her behavior. She enjoyed the positive community of her Academy dorm. But even in prison, she was still drawn to the thrill of "the game"—seeing what she could get away with, if she could outwit the rules and the system. After a few months of poor behavior, Brooke had to leave the Academy.
Upon returning to the general prison population, Brooke gained a new perspective. Her short time in the Academy helped her realize she really could embrace a new path. Over the next six months, she re-evaluated her plans and goals for the future.
Brooke re-applied to the Academy and hoped for a chance to start over.
Joining the Academy for a second time, Brooke felt ready for change. And this time, she accepted the challenge, jumping in with her whole heart. She took her coursework seriously, listened to the wisdom of prison ministry volunteers, and took accountability for the damage she had done and the people she had wounded.
Brooke grew into an admirable leader in her Academy community. Classes like "Boundaries" and "Resolving Everyday Conflict" provided practical life skills and problem-solving strategies. She shared many of these lessons over the phone with her children and family.
Brooke has since become a tutor in the prison education department.
"[Brooke] works hard to exemplify the Prison Fellowship Academy core values and examine her daily lifestyle and decisions through the context of 'what would Jesus do,'" says Academy Manager Pamela Rubash.
Now, Brooke embraces every opportunity to live up to her God-given potential. She attends college classes and leads Bible studies to prepare herself for a career upon release, and she is living and growing alongside other women determined to change from the inside out.
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