When Casandra was 12 years old, her mother left, leaving 5 daughters behind. Casandra’s stepdad couldn’t take care of them and sent Casandra to live with her real father with whom she had no relationship.
Casandra’s stepmother did not like her and made her sleep in the barn. She wasn’t allowed to eat meals with the rest of the family. Neighbors called Child Protective Services but, afraid, Casandra denied the abuse. She started running away. The police picked her up and called her father. When he arrived at the police station, Casandra’s dad hit her in front of the police. She was removed from her father’s custody.
At 14, Casandra’s best friend’s mother invited her to move in with them. For the first time in her life, Casandra had freedom, but she tried to grow up too fast. Pregnant at 17, Casandra quit school and got married. Her marriage was abusive and Casandra soon left her marriage and her daughter behind. Having two children with her second husband, Casandra soon learned how to manipulate him.
Casandra was using meth and started manufacturing, which got her sent to prison. She gave her two daughters up for adoption to a family member because she realized she didn’t know how to be a mom.
Multiple prison stays and revolving men were Casandra’s life until she made a decision to change during her last time in prison. She decided she needed to use her time wisely, got her GED and joined the Beauty for Ashes program.
When Casandra was scheduled for release, one of her daughters invited her to live with them. Realizing she would manipulate her daughter the same way she had learned to manipulate her husband, Casandra told her caseworker not to put her daughter’s home in her papers. Instead she went to the Healing House, where she is now employed.