Tricia first got into trouble with the law when she was just 14 years old. She also struggled with drugs and alcohol, and would spend more than a decade of her life in prison. Now 41, Patricia was released from prison in 2013 and has been determined to turn her life around and make up for lost time with her two children, now 22 and 26 years old.
In 2018, support from the Fountain Fund helped Tricia finally pay her court costs, allowing her to get a driver’s license that made it possible for her to work two jobs and be there for her children and grandchildren. Before the loan, she says that she had little hope that anyone would be willing to help.
“The Fountain Fund listened to me and guided me,” says Tricia. “They had enough faith in me to give me a chance.”
After moving to Charlottesville from Detroit, Martize graduated from high school and almost immediately went to prison for 6 years as a 19-year-old. After he returned home, he fell into the common reentry pitfall of what he describes as “doing the same old things.” Without confidence and support, Martize found himself back in prison.
After his second stint in prison, Martize surrounded himself with a strong network of people. “They tried to blossom what was inside of me and I became a better, productive member of society.” Through that process, Martize started a partnership with The Fountain Fund–then a new nonprofit–back in 2017. “It has been awesome ever since.”
His relationship with the Fund went beyond just a check in the mail every month. Through the loan process, Martize says he felt connected, seen and supported. “I don’t consider them a nonprofit; I consider them my second family,” he says. “I was able to look forward to the future because they put me in the position to win.”
Now that relationship is even closer. After serving as a Community Navigator Intern through the Home to Hope Program, Martize was hired as the Fountain Fund’s first Client Partner Navigator. He’s helping others who were once in a position similar to his own to secure a loan that will elevate them as they return to their communities.
In His Own Words
I was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. I currently reside in Fluvanna County, Virginia. I am married and have five children and three grandchildren.
Growing up in the City of Charlottesville, like most kids, basketball was my life. Unfortunately, never could I have imagined the path that my life would take. Like a lot of other individuals during the time of which I grew up, I started making bad choices. Choices that would eventually result in me being incarcerated. You would think after the first time I would have learned my lesson but the bad choices or decisions I made again would result in my being incarcerated again.
Honestly, it was after my last stint that I felt it was a blessing in disguise. It would be the point in my life, that I would dedicate my life, to changing my life. I told myself, that if I got a second chance at freedom, I would make the most of that opportunity.
The first thing that I realized was that I needed to change my mindset if I really hoped to change, so I got involved with several programs in the system that I felt would help better my life.
While I was still incarcerated, I heard about the Fountain Fund, who were helping formerly incarcerated people. I already had my license, but I felt I needed to check with The Fountain Fund for myself to see if they could help me go to truck driving school. When I went to them, my life started to change immediately. They helped me get my Commercial Driver’s License and develop a business plan. I got a loan to purchase a dump truck to get my business going. It was not long after that I had my own trucking business: Duane Washington & Sons Trucking, LLC.
I feel truly blessed today! I’m not where I want to be at this point, but I am nowhere near where I used to be. My message to anyone reading this article is that “Change is possible!”