Tina is a convicted felon. She served two years at Dwight Correctional Facility for women in Dwight, Illinois. She was convicted of forgery and theft – crimes she committed to support her drug addiction. But with the help of a community-based transitional housing program, Tina has come a long way from her days at Dwight. Today, she is drug free, employed, and working to rebuild her life. She also is working to re-establish a relationship with her children.

Tina continues to struggle, however, to put her past behind her. She does not want her past to define who she is or what she is capable of contributing to her family and community. By example, she wants her children to know that they can overcome any thing with hard work and determination. But Tina still struggles to believe that herself.

Tina’s biggest challenge remains getting people to believe in her – to take a chance on her. She always worries about her future. She feels her life hangs in the balance. Without a degree or professional training, she lives in constant fear of losing her job. She knows that jobs for people with criminal backgrounds are difficult to find. But Tina wants more than a job. She wants an opportunity to help others. More than any thing, Tina wants to become a nurse.

While Tina has made great strides in moving her life forward, her dream of becoming a nurse presents her with major hurdles. She currently makes minimum wage. She is ineligible for student loans due to her felony conviction. She could not qualify for conventional loans. She would even face challenges becoming licensed as a nurse in the state of Illinois.

The Lady’s Ladder believes that the innate talents, interests, and aspirations of female ex-offenders, like Tina, must be taken into consideration in order to move them toward self sufficiency. The Lady’s Ladder invests the financial resources and provides the support services for female ex-offenders, like Tina, to achieve their educational, employment and career goals.

                     The Lady



Tina has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a small child. Like most small children, she would act out her dream by pretending to nurse her dolls. At forty-years old, Tina still dreams of becoming a nurse. But that dream has never seemed so distant.

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