Breaking the Cycle: High School Delinquent to Community Leader
Jaime's story is one of perseverance, triumph, and inspiration, but it didn't start that way.
When she was in the seventh grade, her father's suicide triggered a downward spiral for her family.
Jaime's older sister got into drugs and alcohol when she was in 7th grade and shortly after that she became a street kid, getting arrested for fighting, becoming homeless and other harmful tendencies.
It wasn't until Jaime was a junior in high school that she realized she needed to change if she wanted to graduate. Her math teacher and juvenile probation officer inspired her, and she went on to graduate and she even got scholarships to pay for her first few years of college.
Jaime became a mother at an early age and then a single mother of two children. She learned from her mother what she didn't want to become.
"I had a decision for myself. Either I can become this product of my environment or I can really change the trajectory for my children. I never wanted them to feel any negative impact for me choosing, to be a single parent. So I worked extra, extra hard to make that happen and no matter what we faced, we faced it together."
Jaime had a saying that she told herself when times were tough, getting through the lows of homelessness, probation and more.
"Believe in Good".
"I always told my kids before they even knew what that meant to believe in good. And so they were raised knowing that phrase."
"I was a firm believer that I had a great responsibility to make as many deposits in the memory banks of my children as I could. I never had those memories so I wanted to do different for my kids. And I truly believed with everything in me that no matter what I was faced with, we have this one life. And I never believed to be a victim of anything."
Jaime now works in the prison system so that she has the opportunity to change lives and to be a force for good.
Jaime has spoken at the Oregon Capital as an advocate for suicide awareness. She is part of Soroptimist International, an organization that provides women and children with access to education and training to achieve economic empowerment.
"I could have just settled with the the idea that my mom told me, 'You're never going to be anything.'
But I don't think I was born to do that. I really don't.
I think everything that I faced, it's a reminder that I have become a very strong person, but also a person that wants to help support everybody in whatever those hard chapters look like for them."
"I have a LIVE A GREAT STORY tattoo on my forearm and also 'Believe in Good' on my other forearm. For so many people, it's a thought provoking way to engage in a conversation.
'What does it mean to you to live a great story?"
And then you start to hear people's stories!
I leave LIVE A GREAT STORY stickers wherever I go. Your merchandise is with me no matter what.
I think it's such an interesting time that we're in, to hear the humbling stories of everybody. I just think how wonderful."