The following is written by Jaime Armour, a Roots of Success instructor who was incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. Jaime was able to return to her community in The Dalles, Oregon in 2019. In these blog posts, she has been providing us with updates about how she’s spending her time and energy since returning home. We’d like to congratulate Jaime on her recent invitation to the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Columbia Gorge Community College, where she will also soon be teaching Roots of Success!
Jaime wrote the following column for “Coffee Talk” the Coffee Creek newsletter.
Hello ladies, My name is Jaime Armour, I was a resident at CCCF from 2017-2019. Since my release in September 2019, I have been steadily working towards achieving the short-term goals I set while incarcerated. I immediately went back to college at Columbia Community College in The Dalles, OR. This winter term will be my last at CGCC. I am graduating with 2 degrees. One is a transfer degree and the other is an AA in Applied Social Science with a major in Environmental Science. I was honored to participate in The Roots of Success program while at CCCF. I became a licensed facilitator for Roots in 2018 and taught the very 1st Roots of Success class over in Minimum. I was released from a 3-year post-prison sentence on September 5, 2020 just 1 year after my release.
Today I am a board member for Roots of Success and on the Re-entry Employment Guide board. The longterm goal I dreamed of doing was to become an independent contractor for Roots of Success and teach the program in my community. Well… that dream has become a reality. Starting the winter term at Columbia Gorge Community College I will be teaching the Roots program to students who are working towards completing the GED program as well as the college students. Next week I begin doing presentations in various classes to inform students of the program, its benefits, and encourage participation.
I would like to say this has not been an easy road. When I was released I came back to the county I fell from. I had done a lot of harm to my community and I quickly fell back into the cloak of shame. I continued school and work but the daily grind was consuming and I forgot who I am today. One day I reached out to Kay O’Neil, a Roots Advisor, and told Coffee Talk 11/04/2021 her I had to get out of this town, I felt my light dimming and knew I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing. After a couple of weeks sitting in failure, I changed course, and with much dedication, hard work, and support from Ms. Kathleen Fitts and the Roots of Success members, my dream is becoming my reality.
No one said it will be easy getting back out in the community, and for a while, it wasn’t. However, every step I take makes the difficult challenges so worth it. I want each and every woman in CCCF to know that anything is possible if you stay on course, remember who YOU are, and utilize your support system often. I have successfully broken the cycle of dysfunction in my life and you can too!
Licensed Instructor of Roots of Success,
Roots of Success board member and Re-entry Employment Team Member,
Future graduate of Columbia Gorge Community College 2022