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Two St. Louis women show impact of mentorship as former inmate becomes entrepreneur

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ST. LOUIS – January is National Mentoring Month. A young St. Louis woman went from facing life in prison to getting a second chance at success with the help of a mentor who believes in her. FOX 2’s Blair Ledet spoke to two women whose stories show the impact of both reaching out for help and reaching back to help.    

Jasmine Ford went from studying to be an entrepreneur at Mizzou to receiving a 15-year sentence for attempted murder.

“I was put in a position where I had to make a decision that altered the course of my life,” Ford said. “I just paced around the court, and I just cried.”

The then-expecting mother took a plea deal, facing the fact that she would serve time.

“When you hear that, you instantly think my life is over.” “You think everything you’ve ever worked for is done with.”

She soon decided to take the time to rehabilitate.

“I was involved while I was on the inside; I participated in several programs,” Ford explained. “Prison performing arts, applied to Washington University for a prison education project.”


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The ‘Washing University Prison Education Project’ and the ‘SCORE St. Louis’ mentoring organization linked Jasmine to a dedicated mentor.

“I feel at home. I feel comfortable. I have family that’s been in prison, so I was like, I will only do it if I can go in the prison,” mentor Brittany Raji Alberty shared.

Jasmine can do hair, and she wants to own a salon.

“I’d just be talking about this is my goal; this is what I want to do with my life,” Ford expressed. “I literally had everything step-by-step on big white cards, and I would lay it out.”

Brittany fueled her fire by driving hours for visits, offering knowledge, support, and hope.

“When she became my mentor, it just allowed me to put things into perspective, like you can do this you can do this and you have somebody who believes in what you’re doing.”

“I could’ve easily been Jasmine, so I know how easy it is to make one decision that can alter your life,” Alberty said.

Jasmine is only three months out, working on an apprenticeship and earning a cosmetology license.

“Never be afraid to ask for help because you cannot climb to the top alone. It is not a one-person show at all,” Ford added. “You don’t forget about those who took a chance on you. We are supposed to open doors for other people because this life is hard.”

They’ve made memories and formed a bond. The two displayed the beauty of asking for help and never losing hope.

You can support Jasmine and get your hair done. She says she specializes in natural styles, like creative locs, blow-outs, and silk presses. Book her on her Instagram page.

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