I am so grateful that RAP was there for me back in 1970 . I was 24, had injected heroin, and I had just done six months at Alderson in West Virginia.
I was the only Black woman resident at the time. The other residents were young white kids. Some came from rich families; they all seemed to know they had a future. At that time, I was shy and stayed to myself because of defects I thought I had. But the staff gave me a sense of belonging and a sense of pride.
I stayed at RAP only about five months, but what I learned there stayed with me throughout my life. When I started at RAP, I had never had a bank account, couldn’t drive a car, never had a real job. When I left RAP, all of those things were a part of my life.
Today, I own my own home; I have a small beauty consulting business—Mary Kay; and 3 years ago, retired from the D. C. Department of Health. I dropped out of school in 7th grade but I went back later and received a diploma. Also, I went to UDC for a year, majored in psychology, and I’m proud to say I never missed a day!
I’d like for people to remember this: In order to progress and move ahead, you have to be honest. And you must remember the past. RAP taught me that if you forget the past, you will repeat it. I will never forget.