Although sometimes difficult, Nicole's transition was successful due to her perseverance. Today, she strives to make a difference not only in her life, but also in the lives of others.

After being incarcerated for seven and a half years, Nicole Martin spent nine months at Hampshire House, CRJ’s residential reentry center for male and female offenders, located in Manchester, N.H.

Nicole shared her story with CRJ to inspire others and show that change is possible despite many challenges.

Nicole really helped embrace others to change. She took advantage of the opportunities that were given to her at the reentry center. She was dedicated to her recovery and was focused on her success with work and school. — Jenn Garvey, Nicole’s former case manager at Hampshire House.

Anna: Nicole, tell me a bit about yourself.

Nicole: I am working at an accounting firm in downtown Manchester. I was hired at first to help out around the office, then got promoted to administrative assistant and then to the tax resolution department. I am also just starting to work on the Affordable Care Act tax compliance. I am instructing fitness classes at the Zoo Health Club part-time and sometimes substitute for classes at Gold’s Gym. I teach seven classes a week right now. I like that because it is a nice outlet for me.

Anna: Do you teach a specific class?

Nicole: I earned my American Council of Exercise group fitness instructor certification and my TRX qualification as well. So, it allows me teach a lot of different classes. I teach yoga, Pilates, core fusion, and a body challenge class, which is high intensity interval training, and TRX-suspension training. I am pursuing my associate’s degree in business at Granite State College. I am studying an online curriculum at this point because not all classes are available on campus. After I obtain my degree I will transfer my credits to Applied Science in Education and Training bachelor’s program.

Anna: What about your stay at Hampshire House?

Nicole: Yes, I stayed there for nine months and a portion of that on home confinement. Initially it was a little overwhelming because I was behind bars for seven and a half years and it was a lot to handle. The Hampshire House staff were very kind and made my transition easy. I attribute my success to my case manager Jenn Garvey. She definitely went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of.

Anna: What were some of the things you did at Hampshire that helped you with anxiety and other challenges?

Nicole: I would like to say that accountability is very important. I had to turn in the itineraries if I wanted to go places. Because I am not from New Hampshire it was hard for me to plan different activities. Now I realize that it was the structure at Hampshire House that made my life so easy and taught me how to manage my time better. The skills that I developed there helped me cope with my anxiety because at the end of the day structure is important for people to be successful and manage multiple things simultaneously.

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