TestimonialsMentees Mentors Supporters Family
I felt so empty and alone. I was unsure of a future, only knowing my past. LTC provided me with a mentor. Having a mentor meant having a dear friend. She is one that no matter what obstacle I face, I can pick up the phone and call her. She’s not there to give me all the answers, but to help me find the answers I need to grow and achieve. LTC has made me believe in the natural good in people again. She helps me to be a better person even though we live in different cities. I hope to become a light to someone else as she has been in mine.
- Tina Smith
The ladies of LTC have helped me to gain so many things that I lost long ago. When I was in no position to love myself, they loved me. When I had no hope, they assured me, it would be get better. When I was walking down the road of destruction, they never turned their backs. Instead they guided me down a different path. When I became anxious and overwhelmed, they were patient. When the gates of prison opened up, they were on the other side to embrace me. Don’t be mislead, they never made decisions for me. They offered guidance, love, care, and direction. They didn’t do these acts for praise, but out of compassion. They continue to believe in me, even when there is no belief left in myself.
- Clarenda Moore
LTC has been a big impact on my life. My mentor loved unconditionally, held me accountable and yet gave me room to fly. The ministry has truly allowed me to go from a caterpillar to a soaring butterfly to new heights. While being with my mentor I experienced a sense of safety and belonging that I’ve never felt. Through this ministry I have had the help to be delivered from alcoholism, drugs, depression and a life of bondage. It truly has transformed and saved my life…will you help save another by giving?
- Crystal Hester
I have been out of prison for 5 1/2 years and am proud to say I am a success story. I wouldn’t be where I am now, without the help of some of these ladies from Leaving the Cocoon. They were there for me when I was in prison, upon my release, and are still there for me today. It means so much to me that they have been there for me during the biggest events of my life, they had a cake and a celebration for my husband and I after we got married, and also held baby showers for me during both of my pregnancies. We have spent so much time together, whether it was a meeting, Bible study, lunch together, or just visiting at home, these ladies have become so much more than just mentors to me, they are my friends, my family. They have prayed for me and with me during times I felt weak, they gave me the strength I needed to keep moving forward, they gave me courage when I was afraid of my own success. I call them still when I need words of advice, or want to share a happy moment. They have helped to mold me into the woman I am today, and they say I have made them better women too. We have a bond no one could ever touch, and I thank God He felt I was special enough, important enough, to have them in my life.
- Marissa Powell
I just want you to know how much I love you. LTC is the greatest and I appreciate everything you’ve done to help me. If I didn’t have you all, I don’t know where I’d be in life, mentally and spiritually. I’m so grateful God put you in my life. I think I know now, why there are so many repeat offenders. Change is hard and it stresses one by confusion and being scared of life. But I’m stronger than that thanks to LTC.
- Patti Hall
Leaving the Cocoon helped change my life forever. When my prison time began my thoughts were filled with the day I was released. I had it all planned out. I was going to pick up right where I left off. God had another plan for me! I discovered Leaving The Cocoon! At first it was just a way to get away from the guards and prison life. As our relationship grew I began to look forward to and cherish the time I had with her. Slowly I started to realize there was hope for me and maybe I could change. Those thoughts and feelings came from the TRUE CARE AND CONCERN that Leaving The Cocoon filled me with the and the HOPE and CONFIDENCE I felt after every visit.
- Leslie Williams
Leaving The Cocoon has been instrumental in shaping the woman I am today. Upon release I struggled with discouragement, frustration, and loneliness. I picked up the phone and called my mentor who listened and gave me advice. In the 10 plus years with the mentoring program, I have experienced trust, the kind of trust where I don’t have to be ashamed of my past. Compassion, sincerity, loyalty, honesty, and most of all love were part of my experience. A woman needs other women in her life for encouragement and support. Every time the mentors and mentees get together it’s a blessing and refilling of my soul. I have met many great women who are mentors in LTC. Because of their time, prayers, financial and emotional support, the success of LTC will continue to grow.
- Lisa Brooks
Leaving The Cocoon brought me hope. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. In one of the darkest times of my life God used them to shine light onto me. When I was released from prison and didn’t know how to live or function on my own on the outside of a controlled environment, LTC wrapped their arms around me and led in the right direction. Without LTC I would not be who I am today nor where I am in life today. I will be forever grateful.
- Bethany Crum
I’m writing this letter as a testament that Leaving The Cocoon Ministry must go on… During my time at TPFW, I met a woman name Vicki Harvey who changed my life. She did that by simply loving me even when I did not want to be loved. Her constant support and unconditional love allowed me to heal from past issues and see a brighter future. - Nikisha R. Carter, Administrator of School Affairs,The Rhodes School
One thing that has always blessed me has been the conversations I have shared with my mentor. She always believed in me and took me seriously. After I was released I attended the ‘Daughters of the King’ conference with her. After years of gloomy clothes all the pretty sparkles there made me feel special. To me it was a foreshadowing of what leaving the earth and stepping into eternity with Jesus will be like.
I have been shown the love of God.- Robin S.
I didn’t meet my mentor until that evening after I was unjustly asked to leave the halfway house. I wasn’t sure where I could possibly go. Another girl assured me that I would be just fine. Her mentor was on the way. When women like me have gone through the things I’ve gone through, it is a new day when I can feel safe. It’s HUGE to know someone will be there for you.Mentees Mentors Supporters Family
- Shellie B.
LTC is a program I joined many years ago as a mentor. It has changed my life. What have I learned? We are all connected, regardless of our emotional or physical places in life, regardless of our pasts. We need each other. I needed the mentees to help me realize that I can make a difference, even if such in small ways, by doing nothing more than reaching out, touching a hand, giving a hug, or a nod of encouragement. And she needs me to show that there is a life of normalcy, a life of blessings that is not so remote as it once seemed. That’s a good life of new beginnings.
- Louise Grant
My greatest joy in being a mentor with Leaving the Cocoon is walking with the ladies as they pursue to do life in a better way that many times is difficult because it’s different from what is comfortable, and in the process they recognize God’s help. Mentoring continues to make I Corinthians 13:4 alive to me, more and more often.
- Beverly Jacobs
Leaving the Cocoon has been the biggest blessing in my life. Every time I visit the prison I see Jesus in the faces of the women. Some of the strongest Christians are there. This is a big part of who I am and can’t imagine my life without LTC!!! I thank the Lord for LTC and my great friend Vicki.
- Terry Welch
Being a mentor at TPFW with Leaving the Cocoon has been a wonderful growth experience for me in my journey with the Lord. The first time I went in to meet my mentee, I was so deeply touched to know that there was a woman in TPFW who was waiting faithfully to meet with me and had prayed and hoped for ‘someone like me’ to be her mentor for many months. I left that night saying to the Lord, “who is mentoring who, Father?” What a blessing of the Lord to have the opportunity to love and care for a stranger who becomes your friend and needs your personal caring and consoling; that the opportunity to serve and be served in this way is why we are together. If you want to grow in your faith, be steadfast in your hope and increase your measure of loving and being loved; I have discovered that being a mentor will fill these needs. Jesus calls us to ‘love our neighbor as we love ourselves’ and there is no greater witness in my life to this call than being a mentor for Leaving the Cocoon.
- Libby Goodwin
LTC was established due to the observation that the women were returning to prison. My mentor, Helen Cox, told me they needed mentoring. She said the mentor needs to be available during prison and following her as she leaves prison. Mentoring became a way for me to get many women involved in changing a life one at a time. By helping the butterfly leave the cocoon, it changes history. The butterfly becomes a returning tax payer with a great friend to help guide her. The mentor becomes more Christ-like, more compassionate, grace filled, and patient. I loved parenting and it was a great joy, but mentoring is even more fulfilling because you are helping another lady become all she can be.Mentees Mentors Supporters Family
- Vicki Harvey-Helgesen, Founder
LTC has been established since 2003. I have personally been a part of this partnership. LTC is the only official female mentoring program that is designed for mentors to continue their mentoring relationship with offenders after release from the State of Tennessee. LTC is a pioneer in re-entry mentoring. Mentoring has proven itself to be a positive equation to re-entry. Mentoring by LTC has helped women to return to society and stay out of prison. Based on the “Big 8” crinemogenic factors of correctional programming, LTC is able to address the concern of poor and harmful companions among the female offenders, thus helping with a better chance of never returning. I strongly support LTC.
- Richard Dixon, TDOC, 2008
It has been a pleasure to see the success of several women who have returned to their families following incarceration and who have demonstrated to us that they are loving, effective mothers to their child. There are more than 700,000 children being raised by people other than their parents. LTC and Agape has proven to be effective and important to make a difference with one of our most vulnerable populations. We are pleased to be a part of this team with LTC.
- Tom Burton, Executive Director, Agape
It is our pleasure to inform you that the Outreach Committee of Woodmont Christian Church recently voted to make a donation to the work of Leaving The Cocoon again. (They have given to LTC for four years). Our church has a long and passionate history of supporting charitable endeavors within our community. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.Mentees Mentors Supporters Family
- Members of Woodmont Christian Church
What does Leaving The Cocoon mean to me? Well, it makes me feel glad to know she has such good friends now. These friends help her to stay clean and sober. The greatest part is she is giving back to others now. She is using her experiences to help mentor others. I’m proud of her.
- Sommer Rain, age 13
When I first met the ladies from Leaving the Cocoon, I didn’t know what to expect. From the beginning, they took me in as one of their own. The love and support they showed my wife was unbelievable. I was incarcerated when I was younger, and I wish I would have had someone in my life like them to help guide me when I was released. I returned to prison a second time, and this could have been avoided had I had someone to give me the guidance and love I have seen from these women. I have attended Javas meetings, Bible studies, and spent some very special times with several of these women, and I’m so thankful we have them in our lives. They have become my friends. I love spending time with them and look forward to seeing them. I know they have helped my wife get to where she is today, and they have even helped me to be a better husband for her. I’m thankful we have them in our lives, and I could never repay what they have done for us. I just thank God they are there.
- Keenan Powell, Spouse
My Nana really helped my Mom when she was in prison. My Nana loves Jesus very much! She likes to sing praises. We sing to Jesus together. I love my Nana! I like all the crosses on her wall. She will be my Nana forever! She is my family.
- Leslie, age 6
My mother had been released from prison and I didn’t know how I would cope with the new change. Leaving The Cocoon Ministries has been a blessing to me and my mother. This Ministry gave us an extended family that felt like our own. Meeting my mother’s mentor healed a wound of rejection. She taught me how to forgive others and how important it is to stay humble. Overtime she became Nana who spoke and walked of wisdom and truth. I remember her cooking Sunday dinner and whipping up my special desserts. I remember our long talks about my future and canvas painting in the sun. She always inspired me to follow my dreams and would remind me I could do anything with God. I met her at a difficult time in my life. - Breanna, age 19