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South Bend woman launches job program to help felons

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Ducomb Center is launching a first of it's kind job program next Tuesday. It's designed by a former inmate and recovering addict. 

At Varsity Clubs of America, guests are greeted by Alicia Brown. She’s a front desk agent that helps hotel visitors enjoy their stay. 

Helping others is a common theme in Alicia’s life. 

She’s also a mom, so every day she helps her five-year-old son. 

Alicia helps others because a book helped change her life. 

“Addiction wasn’t something that I grew up with," said Brown. 

In 2003 Alicia became addicted to prescription pills after a series of surgeries. 

“My addiction caused me to commit crimes of prescription fraud,” said Brown. 

Those crimes sent her to jail in 2007, 2011, and 2013. 

“You are in a hell that you can’t even begin to describe," said Brown. 

She hit rock bottom while serving her last sentence. 

“Those three and a half years were probably the toughest," said Brown. 

But it’s also when she started helping herself. 

“My professor gave me this book and she said I really believe this is something for you," said Brown. 

Alicia read the book Jails to Jobs in one weekend. 

“I was just empowered,” said Brown. 

The book taught her how to find a job as a felon. The seven steps landed her her current position. Now she’s helping others in similar situations. 

“I get this opportunity now to go and teach classes and show different mindsets," said Brown. 

Teaching Fresh Attitudes for New Success inconjunction with Jails to Jobs. 

“What can we do to make a difference right here in St. Joseph County?” said Brown. 

For five weeks Alicia will teach inmates at the Ducomb Center professional, social media, and empowerment skills. Right now 10 to 15 offenders who are 90 days away from release will participate. After the course ends these inmates have two weeks to find employment. 

“Encourage people who have been through the trenches, people that have been counted out to say, you know what, you’re not counted out," said Brown. 

She’s excited to help others understanding that push can lead to success beyond bars. 

“Being able to say that I’m clean and that I’m a mommy and that I’m a member of society and that I matter and that I’m loved, that is what I want to give to the people that I meet with,” said Brown. 

If you're interested in finding out more about F.A.N.S and Jails to Jobs, you can email Alicia at alicia.fans17@gmail.com. 

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