Leslie’s Story

With unwavering support from CCF, Leslie transformed herself from a young woman without a plan for the future into a confident, wise, and mature individual with clear goals, unlimited talents, and a promising future. Her story embodies what CCF has always known: education works.

In 1998, Leslie was sentenced to two years of prison for defending herself from a partner who had repeatedly and severely abused her. For Leslie, the felony conviction represented more than just a prison term, but a heartbreaking separation from her two-year-old daughter.

Leslie yearned to be reunited with her child—a hope that led her to make the most of the chemical dependency treatment she received while incarcerated. As her recovery process took hold, Leslie decided that she was no longer going to be a victim, a failure, or a danger to herself, her daughter, and the community. She decided to reclaim her hopes and dreams.

Upon release (from incarceration), Leslie joined the College and Community Fellowship (CCF) and began her journey toward the dream of higher education.  She earned an Associate in Arts degree at Borough of Manhattan Community College and currently attends John Jay College of Criminal Justice, from which she graduated in May 2009 with a B.A. in Forensic Psychology. She has received numerous awards and been inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society.

While working to fulfill her long-term goal of getting her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, Leslie works full time at the Doe Fund (an organization that serves the homeless), supplements her income as a part-time tutor for children in foster care, participates in CCF’s Theater for Social Change, and serves on a CCF leadership group that works on a public policy campaign to restore public funding for college courses inside prison walls.

On top of all this, Leslie has fulfilled her dream of being a terrific parent to her child. Her daughter, now 12, is a bright, talented, and self-confident young woman who attends a magnet charter school. With unwavering support from CCF, Leslie transformed herself from a young woman without a plan for the future into a confident, wise, and mature individual with clear goals, unlimited talents, and a promising future. Her story embodies what CCF has always known: education works—not just for individuals, but for families and communities as well.