SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla.-- On Saturday morning, participants of the addiction recovery program met with volunteers from the Salvation Army, and in many cases, with the sheriff's deputies that put them in jail, to talk about how the recovery pod helped them.
"The testimonials we heard here today is it's working,” said Sheriff Tom Knight with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. “It's working for many different reasons, of our collaborations with the Salvation Army and other non-profits."
Launched in 2009, the recovery pod houses 48 men and 18 woman in the Sarasota County jail, where they receive drug counseling and participate in other positive life skills programs.
"What we provide is hope,” Salvation Army Director David Sutton said. “We provide education and opportunity to turn around and move into some other direction."
Once they leave the program, inmates can become volunteers – like Jessica – who tells her story to those who are currently going through the program.
"In 2011, I had my third trip to the Sarasota County jail. I had heard about the woman's recovery pod there, and I thought I should try a way other than mine since mine was clearly not working,” she said.
The Salvation Army and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office help give hope to those who are looking for an experience designed to help people recover.
"[You] listen and stay even if it all sounds totally inconsequential in your personal life because something will stay," said Danni, a recovery pod graduate.
Those who have been through the program all seem to say the same thing.
"It was a really amazing experience,” Jessica said. “It taught me a lot about hope, a lot about myself, and it opened the door to the possibility of there being another way to live."
"They gave me hope and they showed me there are reasons to live out there," said David Chick.
"These people showed me a different way to live, and today, my life is beyond a life I could ever imagine," Andrew Vance said.
The program is voluntary, and is conducted by more than 100 community volunteers, meaning there is no cost to taxpayers.