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."
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.
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."