Tied to a chair with the voice of an evil perpetrator threatening to pour gasoline on me, set me on fire, and mail my ashes to my children, it became clear that my decade long double life had finally caught up to me. After years of dealing methamphetamine by night and attending PTA meetings during the day, my life was much like the television show “The Sopranos”. We had the big house with the white picket fence and gorgeous family on one side and the criminal life on the other. When the two ultimately collided, absolute chaos and destruction occurred.
I had overcome a teenage drug addiction to crack cocaine and I had been clean for over a decade when my life began to spiral out of control. I had developed a prescription drug addiction that should have killed me, but God apparently had other plans for my life. I referenced the evil perpetrator at the beginning of my story and I have to say that my experience with him should have been my rock bottom. He kidnapped me, then physically, emotionally, and sexually abused me, and held me hostage for 9 days. On the evening of the 9th day, he miraculously set me free; however, my will to live was gone. I was terrified and filled with dread. In the process I lost my home, my chance of getting my children out of foster care, absolutely everything I owned, and my hope of ever prevailing over my despair.
I needed a job. I was in no shape to get a normal job, even though I had years of clerical experience and a BA in psychology. I decided to become a personal shopper. A personal shoplifter, to be more exact. I built a small empire. I had hundreds of clients, business cards, weekly specials, and a 24-hour guarantee. I shoplifted by day and returned to my crack addiction by night. Eventually, this life of crime caught up to me. I had misdemeanor and felony charges in 7 counties. I had so many outstanding warrants that if you added up all of my bond amounts, the total was nearly 1 million dollars! My charges were all put together and labeled a “crime spree” and I was eventually sentenced to 3 years in prison, plus 2 additional years for felony escape from a half-way house. In my opinion, prison is just like you see on television, it is just not that intense all of the time. Most of the time it is calm and boring.
Being released from prison was the scariest time of my life! Yes, even after all I had gone through, the idea of starting my life over from scratch, in a new city, with no friends, and a family who lived many miles away was terrifying. However, I was determined to never go back to prison, so I was going to do whatever I had to do to make it work. I was blessed that my dad found me an amazing family to live with. They are an enormous part of my success story. The road has not been easy and the loneliness was really hard. Letting go of everything and everyone you once knew is a task that is overwhelming and emotional.
Finding a job with 4 felony thefts on your record is next to impossible. My first job was construction zone flagging. I found out that God has quite a sense of humor, considering I hate the outdoors. Haha! Next, I worked in fast food, then I worked as a telemarketer where I sat at a desk for 8 hours a day, with the yellow pages in front of me, making call after call after call to people that did not want to talk to me about commercial cleaning estimates. I did this for almost 2 years. Finally, after 3 years of really crappy jobs, I got a great one!
Three days after I got out of prison, I met a lady at a church small group meeting. Jesus had blessed me with an angel. We become fast friends and she was a champion for my success. Everywhere she went she recommended me and told people what an excellent hire I would be. Ultimately her dedication paid off and the job I resigned from in February of 2019, as the office manager at a chiropractic/acupuncture/medical massage office, was an excellent fit with fantastic bosses and it was a great place to work. Why did I resign, you ask? The answer is… to become the full-time Executive Director of No More Locked Doors Ministries!! Yay God!!!!!!
My life is not perfect and there are still hard days, but through the never-ending grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, here I stand. Relationships restored, a fantastic place to live, amazing friendships, legal problems a thing of the past, a brand-new life, and a second chance to live the life that God intended for me.
I started No More Locked Doors Ministries because I have a passion to work with women who are getting out of prison. The inner peace and joy that I have from Jesus is something that I want to share with others. I want to love on these women that are enduring the same kind of pain and heartache that I did. I want them to know that they are not alone and that they are cared about and loved no matter their past mistakes.
I want them to experience the joy of Jesus!!
Steve graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Northern Colorado in 1971 and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Special Education. Steve was the Owner/CEO of Diversified Cleaning Services for 5 years in Boulder and Greeley, Colorado. He then went on to become the President/CEO of Porter Industries in Loveland, Colorado for 30 years. Before retirement he was the Owner/CEO of Twin Fawn Management for 5 years in Estes Park, Colorado. Steve has been recognized by the Better Business Bureau - Torch Award for Business Ethics, the LEED EB - Gold - US Green Building Council, and received the IMAGE Certification - Homeland Security/Immigration and Custom Enforcement.
Steve has served as a Job Coach for Weld County Mental Health and on several church boards. Additionally, he has been a named Elder in churches that he has been a member of. Steve is passionate about providing each individual (regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic standing) with the opportunity to be successful and achieve their God-given potential. While this includes all past business roles, Steve expresses that it is especially rewarding to currently help women who are being released from prison in Colorado.
Marla is a certified public-school teacher. She taught the middle school grades in public school for 12 years. Since 2007 she has been working in ministry and serves the 'poorest of the poor' along East Colfax in Denver and Aurora, Colorado. She runs an adult education program that includes GED tutoring and work readiness. Some of her students are part of the same returning citizen population that NMLD serves and she knows some of their unique struggles. Marla loves people and she loves to help pave the way to success for others.
Marla met Jenny when she was a newly returning citizen and she has heard and seen many of the struggles that Jenny had to overcome to become successful. Marla is inspired to help others and dedicated to their success. She also loves Jesus and knows that He is the answer.
Bruce has been working with the homeless population for 16 years. From 2004 - 2007 he was director of a drop-in center for street-kids in downtown Denver. Since 2007 he has been the director of a ministry to street-kids and other homeless individuals. During this time, he ran an art studio for street-kids and started a screen-printing business to hire individuals experiencing homelessness. This allowed them to get "their foot in the door" in the job market. Bruce has mentored dozens of street-kids and homeless men in the midst of their struggles to survive on the street and help them navigate their way off the street and get past their "street" mentality. Many of them have been in and out of the prison system and he has seen how the system is not set up for them to succeed.
When Bruce first met Jenny, she was a brand-new returning citizen and he saw how she also struggled to succeed with little to no help. It was only her perseverance and determination (with God paving the way), that made it possible. Bruce expresses that he knows the successes of the women in NMLD, would not be possible without Jenny's involvement in their lives. The strong relational component is essential. Ultimately the real success comes from their relationship with the Lord which is an integral part of the relationships Jenny has with her ladies.
Marcia graduated in 1966 and received a Medical Secretary degree at Mankato Commercial College in Minnesota. Marcia has spent her career as a medical statistician, including medical transcription and correspondence. She worked for Metro Medical Transcription, Boulder Memorial Hospital, and Boulder Community Hospital. Marica is a Certified Member - Medical Transcription (AAMT), a volunteer for the Douglas Task Force, and a group host for Front Range Christian Church. Marcia donates her time and financial resources to organizations assisting the underserved in Douglas County, CO. She finds joy and fulfillment in helping many less fortunate individuals reach their full life potential.