Living Proof


Meet Marla

I am living proof that it is never too late to turn your life around. I have obtained my Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice, and am now working on my Bachelor’s Degree at Indiana Tech. My ultimate goal is to work within law enforcement to counsel youth and young adults and change their trajectory. But because of my criminal record, there are many barriers to working in this capacity. To better my chances of obtaining employment in this field, with OJPC’s help, I’ve applied for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment.

Marla and Family after Graduation
Marla and Family after Graduation

In high school I was an avid basketball player, always one of the best on any team I played with or against. An injury early in college led to the loss of my full scholarship and my dreams. I had no means to continue as a student. I left school and moved back home with my parents.

My self-esteem plummeted, and depression got the best of me. I got swept up in the wrong crowd. I stole to fit in but also because I felt hopeless. I was arrested several times in the next few years, always for misdemeanors, but my rock bottom was an arrest for possession of stolen property and obstruction of justice.

In that moment I realized how much pain I caused my family. I wanted to go to college and make my family proud, and instead I disappointed them. Nothing changed until I stopped blaming everyone else for the things that happened to me and took responsibility for my own actions.

I am confident that with my education, commitment, and Certificate of Qualification for Employment, I can make a difference in many young peoples’ lives. There are so many more people out there just like me in need of a second chance, and with your gift to OJPC, you can make a difference as well.