From Robert Lewis, a Robeson County native who spent 19 years in prison for robbery. He says he robbed after developing a gambling habit while in college:
I am part of the re-entry program; Ive been gone out of society for quite some time. I can see a serious contrast from the way it was before (I went to prison).
The challenge of getting a job is more difficult for someone in my condition. Im an educated individual with a bachelors degree in business management. You pay your debt to society but society will not forgive so easily. So what is a person in my position supposed to do? Most people give up. Thats not me. Ive gone back to one of my other skills, and Im currently into barbering.
There are no jobs. A lot of the textiles have been outsourced, shipped their jobs overseas. My mother, for instance, she used to work for West Point Pepperell. She worked there for 36, 37 years. She lost her job in 2007. I literally watched my mother go from having to have not. I know the true meaning of struggle now, watching her struggle.
Kathy and daughters, 15-year-old Karlee and 12-year-old Khloe. A transplanted Californian who has lived in Lumberton for 13 years since moving with her husband, she recently had surgery for ovarian cancer. Shes separated from him now:
A year ago wasnt good because there was a domestic violence order (against my husband). So this year, I was just working very hard and getting out of a bad situation. We had got our own place and everything was doing better, and this happened (the cancer).
I work seven days a week... I am a cashier at Aldys and then Im a waitress and a bartender at Ruby Tuesdays. I cant work now (since the surgery) and Im out six weeks or longer.
When I first found out I had a mass and would need surgery, I went to my landlord. My first thought was how am I gonna pay my rent, how am I gonna do this, how am I gonna buy food. I had food stamps until last year, but (my income) was $1.35 over budget and I was cut off. But they told me about here (the Robeson County Center) and said they might be able to offer some services and help with the light bill. So, theyre gonna pay for the power bill. Thankfully, I have good insurance for the job and have Medicaid for the girls.
Starlet Rolland, a single parent raising her 7-year-old daughter Chairadi and 5-year-old son Chanze:
I am raising two children, working part-time in the home health field, and going to school also. I have an associates of arts degree so far, but plan to have my masters degree. I am a certified nursing assistant, and in December, Ill be a registered medical assistant, which will make for a better change in my life.
If you dont have any certification or education or some experience, its going to be hard to find a job here other than fast food, hotels or housekeeping and cleaning. Most of the factory jobs have gone overseas. So job opportunity-wise, it can be a struggle.
It feels like everything has gone away in Robeson County.
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