Nov 14, 2018 by Shehera Vega Sánchez

This Incredible Program Helps Female Prisoners Get Back On Their Feet

An incredible program in Florida is helping female prisoners to create a better future for themselves. Not only does the program educate women, but it also gives them the knowledge and skills to become successful after they served their sentence, according to Upworthy.

"I didn't want to come out the same way I went in"

One of those women is Rebecca 'Cafe' Brown. The woman from Fort Lauderdale was serving a five-year sentence. Because of her traumatic past, Rebecca got into an abusive relationship which eventually got her convicted.

Although prison was a rough experience, Rebecca is convinced it helped her to face her past. This confrontation taught her a valuable lesson. "I didn't want to come out the same way I went in," she said. "This was a wake-up call."

"We serve as a model, voice, and advocate for the power of rehabilitation over retribution"

Push In The Right Direction
Brown heard about the Ladies Empowerment & Action Program (LEAP), a program that provides transformational education, entrepreneurial training and mentorship to women during and after prison. "LEAP is the only program in Florida -- and one of the few in the country committed to helping women get back on their feet using a comprehensive education model that includes entrepreneurship," they state on their Facebook. "We serve as a model, voice, and advocate for the power of rehabilitation over retribution."

It was precisely the push in the right direction that Rebecca needed so urgently. LEAP believed in her and helped her make a change. For the first time in years, Rebecca felt hopeful again.

"Liberate your skin, and you liberate your soul"

Liberty Soap
Because of LEAP, Rebecca felt like she played a part in a community again. "Now, I care about people," she explained. Shortly after she got out of prison, Rebecca started working as a chef at Camillus House, a homeless shelter. Recently she just saved up enough to start a business that she dreamed up in prison. Her hand-made soaps, 'Liberty Soaps' as she calls them, are available at Dragonfly, LEAP's storefront.

"The theme is to liberate your soul," Rebecca said. "Liberate your skin, and you liberate your soul. We also liberate the women coming out of prison by donating proceeds from the sale of the soap. So it's a cause."

"It's like the Dragonfly Thrift. You're not just buying a bar of soap. You're not just buying a pair of pants. You're actually helping another person, and that's powerful."

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