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"When you're in it, it seems impossible to break out. But when you're environment lifts you up, and doesn't give up on you, then you can set up routines that help you fight your way out. One day at a time."

No mentors

or leadership



& isolation

Being taken advantage of

No support structure


in job market

Drugs / crime


Overburdened rehabilitation resources

Released with dismal support

Laura, founder of Lead Farther 

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Laura's story: Goal-setting

"After two drug-related felonies and nearly two years of going in-and-out of correctional facilities, I was beat. I knew I had to set goals for myself."

"I used whiteboards to write

down my ideas. 




Of whiteboards."

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Applied and went back to school


Received an Associates from Northern Virginia Community College. Then graduated George Mason University with a 3.8 GPA and a degree in Communications

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Worked in the non-profit sector


Cared for victims of sexual assault, fought mandatory minimums, uplifted entrepreneurs, and supported UN initiatives for economically disadvantaged communities and women

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Changed a hard-on-crime law to a smart-on-crime law


Wrote to hundreds of legislators, put on front page of The Washington Post, and testified in front of multiple committees

"I was fortunate to have Schai (founder of FIST) in my life. She encouraged, challenged and kept me on track. The FIST principles she advocates for on a daily basis were invaluable to me. I would never have been able to fight my way out of the cycle without people like her in my life."

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