JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A Jackson woman is helping to build a better tomorrow for those who have been locked up, as well as their families.
Pauline Rogers says she is a living testimony of the goodness of God, and she lets everyone know just how blessed she is every day.
“Everybody, all of us, I’m better than the worst mistake I’ve ever made, we have ever made.”
See, Rogers saw deadly violence happen right before her eyes as a child, and she was arrested multiple times and finally ended up going to prison.
“When I watch my father be killed at the hands of my mother through self-defense, but as a child, you do not process the reason, you only saw someone kill someone else, someone shot someone else, and they fell and didn’t live. So, that is how I got started on the spiral of crime. My crime escalated to shoplifting, and I ended up serving time in prison for shoplifting as a habitual offender because I have 10 other siblings, and I was trying to survive for me and my siblings.”
While in prison, Rogers says her life changed for the better.
“Tough times don’t last, but the tough people do.”
Rogers met the man she would marry and a chaplain who would help her refocus on what is important.
“It was a transformation and a redemption,” she said.
After being released from prison, she began helping others and became a voice for the voiceless.
“I came out to save myself first, and I’m trying to save myself. I saw that there was a need to help others, so that’s how we got started.”
That’s where Reaching and Educating for Community Hope organization come in, known as RECH.
For 30 years, she and her husband have been operating the organization, which focuses on helping formerly incarcerated people and their families. They have even partnered with World Vision — one of the largest humanitarian organizations in America.
They now run transitional homes for women. Over the years, they have helped more than 1,500 women coming home from prison with no place to stay.
“There were people who have been paroled who couldn’t get out because he didn’t have to have an address.”
The organization donates care packages and masks to help people during this pandemic.
This week, she has been preparing Easter goodie bags for children of incarcerated parents, and her organization also donates thousands of Christmas gifts to kids in need.
“Our goal is not only to help those impacted by incarceration, but also the homeless, and these products here are for those people.”
Her goals for the future are just as bright.
“This 27-acre reentry campus, we want to have a garden out there, have a walkway out here, and the children play in the learning area.”
Rogers says delivering kindness is what life is all about, and she is happy to do just that.
“It makes me feel good, but not good enough because there’s always more to do.”