I am 23 years old and actually had a great childhood as an only child.  My mom was a single mother and did everything for me to make sure I had everything I wanted and needed.  I have had a great and adventurous life, until I hit age 18 when my mom got married and I started rebelling and getting into trouble for attention.  I started stealing from malls and kept getting locked up.  Being here in jail today, I’ve learned to start appreciating the simpler things in life and not taking things and people for granted.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  Being here has made me learn structure.  I have learned my lesson.  I want more in life than jail and having to watch for the police.  I just want to reconnect with my partner who has been very good to me, has forgiven me for my wrongdoings and just wants me home.  I am going back to my jobs when I’m released from jail, so I can stay focused and live my life with my own money.  I finally made a decision to turn my life around and be the person I was raised to be.


Shanaya’s Dream

Shanaya has woven this dream into her hand-crafted purse.

I’ve dreamt a lot of dreams in my 23 years of living.  But what I want the most is self-love.  I want to love myself more than I love anyone else.  I want to be selfish when it comes to happiness, success, greatness, loyalty, honesty, forgiveness, trustworthiness and being the best Me I can be.    It’s about believing in myself, keeping myself busy, focused and leading myself down the right path.  I want to have great success like my family.  I want to make my mom and grandma proud.  I want to have powerful money and not worry about how I am going to pay my bills on time.  I just want to be great and someday have a family of my own, my own house, my own everything and not have to count on anyone but myself.  I believe that if you can dream it, you can do it.  A dream is only a snapshot of your reality.


“If you can dream it, you can do it.  A dream is only a snapshot of your reality.”


A formerly incarcerated young woman

Shanaya’s Purple Swirl Purse

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