Every few weeks, I am compelled to update you on Zoe (real name withheld).
She’s the formerly imprisoned woman that Sarah and I wrote with for three years at Chittenden Correctional Facility in Vermont before her release last May.
I’ve chronicled the immense challenges she’s faced this summer re-entering her life. (Sarah and I meet with her weekly.)
Money was tight, forcing decisions such as do I get food at the supermarket, or use this 50 bucks to give others gas money to transport me around?
Zoe lives in rural Vermont and never got her driver’s license even though she’s in her late ’30s.
My sequel post, reentry, a house of cards, Pt. 2, celebrated her finding a seasonal job in landscaping (earning a decent wage), as well as her own decision to ditch the boyfriend who was sabotaging her desire to work.
BTW, Zoe’s still at the landscaping job, earning rave reviews, and applying for a full-time position. (It is really really difficult to score a FT job with benefits when you have a felony conviction. Prayers, positive wishes or fingers-crossed, please.)
Her biggest roadblock toward getting a license-to-drive was about $2,000 in fines that needed to be paid off (i.e. expired registration or insurance, driving without a license).
This coming Thursday, the last $100 will be paid off. Because of the progress Zoe has made to satisfy the fines, Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles let her sit for a learner’s permit test, and she passed!
Then, she had to wait another month for a road test appointment. This past Wednesday, my smartphone dinged at work, and I looked down to see the image of Zoe on a full-fledged Vermont driver’s license. Road-test passed!
After her next paycheck, she will secure driver’s insurance and pick up a used car purchased a few weeks ago.
The resourcefulness of one woman to overcome decades of poor choices is beyond inspiring.
So so so many ex-offenders fail in their efforts to surmount the impacts of incarceration, dysfunctional families, poverty, and just plain speed-bumps that appear along the way.
..which is why today I want to celebrate with intention the headway that Zoe’s has made in just three month’s time.
Oh, and one last note that will bring a smile to your face: Zoe earned two A-minuses in her CCV courses this summer, and has enrolled in two more classes for the fall.
Godspeed, dear one.