Hello my name is Ana Alvizo.

I am a single mother of two amazing boys - Anthony, who is 17, and Giovanni, who is almost two years old.
My parents are immigrants from Mexico. They both came to the United States legally so their children could have a chance to live a better life.

Throughout my teenage years everything went well. I was a great student, daughter and sister. Once I turned 21, though, I went through a very bad heartbreak - or so I thought at the time. I didn’t deal with it very well, so I started to party a lot. My brother became my best friend, as we both were going through a similar situation.

In my late twenties, I made a mistake that cost me two years of my life. I was incarcerated. Two years which I spent missing my son, who at the time was seven. I was missing my family as well. My parents were there for me through those years, and their support helped me so much. During those two years, I spent time reflecting on my life and on what made it turn out the way it did. I definitely can say that being in there saved my life.

Once I was no longer incarcerated, I was hired at McDonalds. I had to stay employed there because no one else would hire me due to my background. In my time at McDonalds, I became a manager and learned numerous leadership skills. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad. The job became a stepping stone for me.

I was always ashamed to tell my story to anyone for the fear of being judged. I have learned from my mistakes and I am very grateful for where I am today. I am grateful to be working at FutureStitch. In this job, I’ve made some very great friends and we are building a strong community between us. We practice yoga, meditation and have had many computer classes. Working at FutureStitch, we have become more like a family – it’s more than just a job.

We all have different backgrounds, but similar life lessons. We are here to support and help each other become better. Our past does not define us. We are more than that. Each day living is a chance to do better. If we don’t like something about our life - we have to change it.It can be hard at first, but change is hard.

In life, you never think certain things could happen to you - but they can. At first you think you have control - until you lose control. I have been through a lot in my life, but I am amazed at how strong it has made me. I am now going on 10 years of sobriety, and that has made me a strong, humble and loving person. I have always believed that people can change and do better for themselves.

I am very grateful that I had another chance at life, and that I am now able to be a great example to my kids.

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