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A Story of Hope & Determination

Created by Latonya Baskerville

A Story of Hope & Determination

It was hard growing up in my community. For years, I was bullied, teased and tormented about my weight, height and dark-colored skin. At only 13 years old I remember crying daily and asking God why my community hated me so much. Before I knew it, I had fallen into a dark hole, indulging in crime, sex and drugs to gain acceptance from my bullies.

But that didn’t work — the bullying got worse, the drugs got weaker and the cycle just got more complicated. I needed more money to get more drugs. So at seventeen, I started prostituting and allowing any man with money to do whatever he wanted to me, whether it was protected or unprotected. As the days went on, my “job” got harder and harder. I was raped, beaten, abandoned, sexually violated and diagnosed with HIV. I even started smuggling drugs across the country and selling them around my community.

Then one day I made a direct sell to an undercover cop across the street from a public school. I was arrested and sent to jail. When I was brought before a court judge, he explained that the crimes I had committed were felonies and that I was facing two to six years in prison. My legal aid attorney pleaded with the judge to grant me rehabilitation as an alternative to incarceration. This is when I started to turn my life around.

I accepted and embraced rehabilitation. I was sentenced to a drug treatment program that I completed in August 1999, and then was referred to a job readiness program that I completed in June 2000.

By this point, I was fully motivated to do good things for myself. I enrolled in a GED program, receiving my GED just a few months later in October 2000. Soon after that I took up work for over ten years with the foster care agency that reunited me and my kids.

Upon resigning, I founded a not-for-profit, wrote three books, composed seventeen poems, and just recently became a certified field producer for Brooklyn Public Network. I learned how to accept and deal with all the consequences of my destructive former lifestyle. And I made it my goal to continue renewing and healing myself by sharing my story with other girls so they don’t have to follow the kind of destructive path I was once on.

Girls like me, with stressful and painful beginnings, can have hope and happy endings.

My book NO MATTER WHAT can be purchased at latonyabaskerville.com


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Julie
Congratulations on your recovery anniversary today. 16 years!
2. Julie
Congratulations on your recovery anniversary today. 16 years!