Zion ran away from home at 16, fleeing an abusive childhood. With no parents to look out for her, she ended up in prison at the age of 17. With Depaul’s support, she is now using her own experience to help others get out and stay out of crime.
“I was living in an abusive home with my step-mum and my step-family. My sister ran away when she was 15 and I ran away a year later, when I was 16. I went to stay with my friends and then went into care.
“The care system don’t guide you, they just let you hang around with the wrong people. You’re allowed to do whatever you want, and as a child that’s not good. I got into the whole stereotype thing of hanging around the older guys and then started committing crimes and went to prison.
“Before going to prison I was really confident. I was young and not caring. When I came out of prison, I was extremely anxious. So, it was challenging because of the mental health, but also not knowing where to go. I just didn’t know how to navigate round the world to get to where I wanted in life. I just felt alone. That’s why it’s good that there’s people there like Depaul to learn some things.
“My social worker put me in touch with Depaul when I got out of prison. My progression coach is Magdalene. We’ve been working together for two years. We speak often, whenever I need help with something.
“My main goal is to work on my business for the next 5-10 years. It’s called Get Out of Crime and we sell training programmes, coaching, mentoring to give people the tools to get out and stay out of crime. Magdalene is helping me with things to do with my business and business skills. She helped me to do a public speaking training so I could gain those skills. They were really useful. I wasn’t able to pay for it myself. So, if they hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
“That’s why I’ve carried on through the whole journey, because I know the goal that I have at the end. And that’s to go through it so I can then give it back to other people so they can also get out of it.”