Casting My Stone To Make A Ripple
January 28, 2020
The Ammon Foundation is committed to highlighting stories of recovery to continue to expand the conversation about recovery and break the stigma often associated with the disease. Ammon Recovery Scholars help us tell that story. Meet Leslie Cherry.
I have been a part of #TeamAmmon this past year. My long-term plan is to press on until I obtain my master’s degree in social work. I would tell someone who is climbing out of the pit of addiction and considering returning to school that Ammon foundation is a bridge constructed of people who believe in people who are trying to recover and further their education. Your foundation didn’t just change my life, it also changed my daughter’s life.
My daughter has watched this process of me returning to school at 35 years old and sees how hard work and dedication pays off. She went from a C student to the honors program at her high school. It reminds me of the quote by Mother Theresa – “I may not be able to change the world but I can cast a stone in a pond to create ripples.” Thank you, Ammon Foundation, for believing in me casting a stone in my pond.
I was adopted when I was twelve years old by my grandparents, because my father was in federal prison for laundering the money he made from selling illegal drugs. My biological mother was married to a physically and verbally abusive man who would harm my mother, sister and I. My grandparents wanted to protect my sister and I from our parents and they attempted to shield me from the lifestyle my father led.
When I was 15 he was released from prison.
My biological father was the first person to introduce me to Methamphetamines. From that day forward, I wanted to be where the drugs were – I believed they were my freedom. However, I know realize they were my prison, one that I was locked in for the next decade.
I had two beautiful children, a stroke, lost my grandparents, married a man who abused me and took me farther than I ever intended to go in addiction. He showed me the ritual of intravenous drug use. Three years after we were married and he died after being stabbed 23 times. I ended up in jail for 9 months; after, I was able to function in society for a year working as a hairstylist before my addiction reared its ugly head again.
Things got really bad really quick, but somewhere in all of the madness I had what some refer to as a ‘moment of clarity.’
In that moment I made a choice to save my life and learn a different way to live.
Five years later, I am telling my story because that is what I do. I share my story to create awareness to the drug epidemic and to raise money for the non-profit treatment center where I am employed. We do not turn anyone away due to inability to pay; however it falls on the staff (mostly me) to raise money. I have a passion for helping women learn different way to live, which is why I returned to school. I want to obtain a bachelors in social work and then my masters, ultimately getting my LCSW.
“We keep what we have by giving it away” and that is what I want to continue doing. I want to share my story, my coping skills and life skills and help women discover their real selves Someone came and walked along beside me showing me another way – and I want to continue paying it forward.
I have been attending school at Southwestern Community College since January 2018. The fall 2019 semester was the most challenging semester yet, mostly due to a series of unfortunate events that happened over the past three months. When I got the award letter in my email a few days ago, I exhaled. A student is only allotted so much financial aid and this scholarship will help me stress and worry less. One of the most paramount things that Ammon foundation has done for me, is they believe in me.
Recovery, combined with schoolwork and being a single mother Is challenging. You call me to ask how I’m doing and those calls remind me that I have people and inspired me to press on even in the face of adversity. Getting the scholarship made me believe that I can! Your program has been instrumental in my success and I am grateful.
Today, my daughter and son are proud of me.
– Leslie Cherry, Recovery Date: 01/24/2014, Southwestern Community College, Human Services Technology
The Ammon Foundation believes that when individuals are holistically and strategically supported to build purposeful lives, the likelihood of them maintaining their recovery substantially increases. We provide this support via our Ammon Recovery Scholars Program. Our program goals include: removing financial barriers through financial scholarships; providing strategic support for recipients through offering personal, professional and academic support; and creating a supportive peer community committed to combating the stigma associated with addiction by promoting that recovery is possible. We are committed to giving away at least $150,000 in scholarships annually and are looking to fund education as a stepping stone to stable employment, safe housing and adequate healthcare. To find out more about our programs, or to apply for an educational scholarship, please click here or email email@example.com.