ABILENE, Texas - People with any kind of criminal record will tell you finding a job can be tough. Courtney Jones said because a business owner took a chance on her, she turned her life around three years ago.
"I'm so glad I'm not that person anymore because I was dying and even though I wanted to die part of me wanted to be loved and accepted. That's all I ever wanted," said Jones.
Her life used to be plagued by drugs and scattered with jail time.
"Drugs were everything to me, my best friend, you know the power greater than myself. They ran me into the ground," Jones said.
"I've been in and out of jail my whole life and every time I went to jail I'd hate it in the moment, but I would hate the day I would have to get out because I knew I was better in jail than out of jail," she added.
When Jones did want to get back on track she found out it wasn't easy.
"I just had a commissary bag when I got here and what that is, is a bag full of my stuff and it consisted of the clothes that I had when I got locked up and the only form of identification I had was this little offender card that said offender real big on the front," said Jones.
Then she met Charles Parks and he helped her break the cycle.
"He saw something in me that I didn't and he gave me a chance," Jones said.
"When I met Courtney she had this incredible light in her eye and I could tell she was really open and she had some enthusiasm," Parks said.
Parks gave Jones a job and a second chance at a life she almost missed.
"I'm grateful for good people because deep down inside I've done all this bad stuff, but I'm still a good person at the end of the day. Just, it takes other people to believe in me for me to feel that as well," said Jones.
"She's been the greatest employee. It's so much fun for me. The joy in my life is getting to see people succeed," Parks said.
Now, more than three years later, Jones is still drug free, working a full time job and raising two children.
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you it's been easy. It hasn't. There's been so many trials and tribulations and mistakes that I've made along the way, but I haven't used drugs," said Jones.
She says she's thankful to the man that believed in her before she believed in herself.
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