B her ecky Jo Tatum wasn’t ready to leave prison. She’d served all five years of sentence, and in that time, she’d found a sense of clarity and purpose that she doubted could be replicated outside of those walls. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to find that when I got out,” she says, recalling the sense of fulfillment that teaching GED classes and tutoring other inmates had given her. “I thought, ‘what am I going to do? No one wants to hire me.’” She hadn’t always fit in there, either, though. When Becky Jo arrived at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, she says she spent a good year and a half in a daze before she realized being locked up was her chance to kick a 22-yearlong drug addiction and an equally long habit of trading herself for cash that were spurred by an abuse-filled childhood. When she finally “came to” she signed up for any and all prison programs that offered therapy and education, including Dress for Success Columbus’ Pathways Program. As the holder of a home appraisal license and a former Columbus State instructor on the topic, Becky Jo pursued the program’s Green Energy Technology track hoping she’d be able to put the new knowledge to use to renovate properties for sale. She was placed in a six-week tech company internship that started immediately after her release, and while she was grateful for the assistance of the program that focuses on successful re-entry into society and the workforce, right: Becky Jo beams in the ensemble she chose from the Dress for Success Columbus boutique. Her suiting appointment was the first step in building a professional wardrobe for her new job. 7 | SUCCESS LIVES HERE

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