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A Wedding. A Transformation.

The walk Mariesol took down the aisle to join her fiancé

Mateo at the altar this month was short. The journey that brought her to this day was a much longer path that took her to prison for 18 months, the Oaks of Righteousness, recovery and faith.

“It’s so good,” she said after marrying Mateo on November 4th, “It has been a blessing and now we are just super excited about what the future holds for us.”

Mariesol’s story represents the hope and the promise of Oaks. Family members tried to introduce her to Mateo as soon as she left prison, but she knew she wasn’t ready.  “I knew I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to do what I had always done before and make the same mistake of meeting someone and falling into a bad relationship,” she says.

Instead, she entered the Oaks program, focused on her recovery program and welcomed Christ into her life. After Oaks graduation, she got a full-time job and also became our Phase One House Manager. When she felt ready, she insisted they go to church for their first date. “I wanted to ‘date healthy.’  I needed him to understand that church and recovery would always be a part of my life.”  

Oaks offers women like Mariesol safety, security, and a chance to develop the life skills to take back control of their lives, but the biggest change needed to come from within. 

“I used to carry a lot of shame over the choices I had made.  I thought I was too far gone, like I didn’t deserve any better than prison and addiction. My faith is what showed me that I could use the negative things I went through to grow and become better. It helped me understand that I was worth saving and deserved to be happy.”

The couple took a short honeymoon at the beach and now are starting their life together.  “I wake up with a smile on my face instead of a frown. I look forward to the promise that each day holds for us.”

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