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Ministry Spotlight: Q&A with Carmen Garcia, Executive Director at Root & Rebound

Why Serving USA?: Including offering resources and reestablishing power to those most impacted by mass incarceration, Root & Rebound is a leading organization in the restorative justice space. How is partnering with Serving USA a benefit to your innovative work?

Partnering with Serving USA is not transactional; it's beyond the financial support they provide Root & Rebound. This partnership reminds us that everyone deserves to be invested in, no matter who you are or where you are.

Emotional/Spiritual Health: How do you maintain your drive and passion to be an advocate and leader representing hope to the formerly incarcerated in your community?

As a formerly incarcerated woman leading an amazing organization, It is my responsibility to be the change I want to see in the world through compassion, understanding, and faith. I practice kindness every day and I treat others the way I want to be treated. When I fail, I take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. These daily practices maintain my drive and passion to be of service to others and remain grounded.

Advice for Success: Your own inspiring journey as well as professional achievements make you an absolute subject matter expert in life transformations. What piece of advice might you offer someone in the Serving USA community to help them also reach a goal or make a positive change?

I often say that we all have a story. My story is not unique by any means, but it is my story. Growing up in poverty in South Texas, we had limited resources. My parents figured out ways to support the family by working in the fields during the summers. I remember I was five years old the first time we went out of state to work for a farmer in Milford, Illinois, often 14-16 hour days.

During my childhood, my parents worked two jobs to make ends meet--bare necessities.

Although we were poor, my parents had so much faith and believed in God and the teachings of Jesus.

Being of service is one of the teachings that my parents modeled for us; no matter how poor, we had to be of service to others, so every Sunday after church, we traveled to Reynosa, Mexico--about 15 minutes from my hometown, and brought, hymns, goodie bags (Halloween candy, pachucos (fried corn tortilla filled w/refried beans) and one quarter (at that time the US dollar was strong) for each child who frequents the landfill looking for shoes, food and whatever they could find. We were lucky to have a roof over our heads and food to eat, even if it was rice and beans daily; what a blessing.

I still remember the children singing and raising their hands to praise God; even though they had nothing, they had faith. Faith got my family through many years of struggle and suffering and got me through incarceration--I witnessed God's love for me on several occasions in prison.

My advice is that no matter how bad things are for you, remember that we are all God's children; you are not alone; always serve those in need, no matter what.

Find More Christian Ministry Content

Each month Serving USA publishes a newsletter featuring our amazing ministry partners. We are so blessed by them as they work to make an impact with veterans, women in recovery and individuals who have been incarcerated.


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