September 2022. Los Angeles, California. Serving USA (SUSA) partner, A New Way of Life, announces the publishing of employee Stephanie Jeffcoat’s poetry book.
A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) promotes healing, power, and opportunity for formerly incarcerated people by taking a multifaceted approach to mitigating the effect of, and ultimately eliminating, mass incarceration. ANWOL operates under four programs, Housing & Development, Legal Services, Family Reunification, and Advocacy and Leadership. Among their Advocacy and Leadership staff is Stephanie Jeffcoat, a formerly incarcerated woman who has taken her past and turned it into a tool to guide others to a new path.
Alongside her professional career, Jeffcoat navigates our broken system daily as she seeks reunification with her youngest daughter, Harmony Miracle Faith. Four years ago, Jeffcoat’s daughter was adopted by another family during her six-month stay in prison. Not having support at the time, Jeffcoat sought hope in Jesus.
Her journey to recovery began with the decision to get sober. “It does not happen like that to everyone,” she shares, “You have to be done with the life you were living.” After an encounter with police, she was taken to a shelter. “It was a surreal experience to be in the back of a cop car and not be headed to jail.” She only stayed for a few hours that night, but after waking up next to a dumpster the following morning, she chose recovery, and returned to the shelter.
Within two weeks of that event, Jeffcoat had housing and a job. She found her church family, which led her to an offer that viewed her criminal record as an asset and an experience that could help others. “It really boils down to opportunity. If people are given the opportunity to change their lives, oftentimes they will take it. It just has to be offered”. Today, Jeffcoat holds five associate's degrees, is currently enrolled at California State University, and will soon be studying for the LSAT exam to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer.
Despite this turnaround, Jeffcoat is still fighting to reunite with her youngest child. The loss of her parental rights has made it difficult to obtain court documents. Despite numerous attempts to contact the adopted family, the only communication is through attorneys, who reiterate that they do not want contact with Jeffcoat.
This past July, Stephanie Jeffcoat published a poetry book dedicated to her daughter. She credits Jesus for the poems, sharing He spoke these words to her in her dreams. She hopes the poetry will help others who have experienced incarceration, homelessness, addiction, and assault to feel seen and inspired to seek help in Christ.
“When we surrender and allow God to direct our steps is when we find out how great life truly can be. For years I wanted to live life my way, and it led me down to a path of destruction. Without God's grace and mercy, I wouldn't be here today.”
Jeffcoat hopes that when her daughter is old enough to come looking for her, she will find all the effort put into their reunification. Until then, Jeffcoat continues to advocate for herself, her daughter, and all other people who encounter this separation daily. From the Streets to Christ’s Feet: My Journey from Homelessness and Addiction to Success is available for purchase on Amazon.
Serving USA is proud to partner with ANWOL and supports people like Stephanie Jeffcoat, who work tirelessly to change the lives of formerly incarcerated women. ANWOL Director of Development Claire Arce’ shared, “Our partnership with Serving USA has been helpful in nurturing and sustaining our growth as we continue to provide resources to benefit vulnerable women leaving incarceration.”
About Serving USA:
SUSA’s mission is to bring grace and redemption through Christ to incarcerated individuals, women in recovery, and military veterans through a supported network of exceptional partner organizations.
Our support for prisoners and ex-offenders includes restorative and redemptive pre-release programming and discipleship, addressing life skills and physical, spiritual, and vocational needs. We are making a difference to better prepare these men and women for release and walk with them when they get out by providing housing, transportation, job placement, legal aid, and other wrap-around services to reduce recidivism drastically.
Our commitment to women in recovery includes programs that walk alongside women, offering shelter, compassion, counseling, life skills, job training, spiritual development, and encouragement as they recover from various forms of abuse and transition to healthy and productive lifestyles.
We provide an array of services and innovative programming to our wounded warriors, emphasizing PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) and combat trauma issues that lead to a suicide rate of 21 per day and contribute to violent crime and homelessness.