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Years after graduation, Jasmin reflects on a life changed
It’s been over four years since Jasmin entered the Lighthouse’s Life Recovery Program, and looking back, Jasmin can’t emphasize the change in her life enough. “I went into the Lighthouse telling myself just to play the system to get my children back,” she said. “But being there, I gave it my all and began to have a change of heart. I needed the program.”
Jasmin, who was raised in Oxnard by a single mother, along with her three siblings, experienced a terrible trauma as a young person. At just 11 years old, she was raped. She began having run-ins with the law, serving time in juvenile facilities, and using meth.
Jasmin got pregnant when she was 14, and had her child at 15. The school she attended had a teen pregnancy program, so she brought her baby to school with her. Her child’s father was abusive. “He started to hit me during my pregnancy with our daughter,” Jasmin said. “We used to use together.”
But when her daughter was just 2 months old, Jasmin was arrested. Her baby’s father was given sole custody. “I haven’t seen my daughter since,” she said. “The court system made it hard for me.”
Jasmin is now a mother to seven kids. When her youngest daughter was 5 years old, she was arrested again, but was released into a local, secular program. Jasmin reconnected with a childhood friend who was also there and they started doing Bible study and praying together. “That’s when my relationship with God really happened,” she said.
But after the program, Jasmin struggled to stay clean. She got kicked out of her mom’s house and found herself back on the streets. “My kids’ father (she shares three kids with him) and I were running amuck in the streets getting high,” she said. “My kids got taken away from me.
The Thomas Fire was raging and Jasmin was staying in a hotel room. Drugs were brought in and police raided the room. Jasmin was arrested.
While in jail, Jasmin again turned to the Bible. “I had a lot of time to think in my cell and I thought to myself, ‘This can’t be my life.’ I really prayed to God and I asked for help.”
As Jasmin prepared for court, she was informed that a program wasn’t an option and she’d likely need to serve years in prison. “At that moment I just gave up,” she said. “They were going to adopt my kids out. But I heard a voice say, ‘Just believe and be faithful.’
“At that point, I just told God that I would accept my punishment because I knew He still had plans for me. The next day I was released.”
Jasmin immediately boarded a bus to her mother’s house. Her mom took her to the Lighthouse right away. “I was really resentful when I first arrived to the Lighthouse and I think that was because I didn’t have my kids with me like some of the other women,” she said. Her older three kids began visiting her, but the youngest were in foster care. She fought for them and got them back in her care too. Jasmin flourished in the program.
At the time, Jasmin said the staff was very helpful. “They tell me, ‘You aren’t alone here.’ They are helping me figure out who I am, and how to change, in a loving way. Here, they make me feel like I don’t have to take on the world by myself.”
Jasmin graduated in February 2019 and entered the Lighthouse’s Transitional Living Program, where she stayed for five months. Now, she is just five credits away from receiving her high school diploma. She is a supervisor at a local thrift store and is close to buying her first home with the help of Section 8.
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