The story of Laura Hernandez is a hard one to hear. She is the survivor of every type of abuse you can imagine. Living in a nightmare is the best way to describe Laura's formative years. Violence, chaos, and loneliness are also littered throughout her horrific memories. In her early 20s, Laura found herself serving a 27to life term in prison. However, while there she spent her time learning from therapists, partaking in every type of class, and even facilitating many classes. It was these programs that eventually transformed Laura's life. She came out a completely different and whole person. A story that begins with impossible sadness ends with unbelievable hope.

Show Notes

After hearing Laura's story, the words that come to mind are: determined, brave, compassionate, strong, forgiving, teachable, and resilient. She was dealt a terrible hand in life. She confesses to her mistakes without playing the victim. She wakes up every day and chooses to better herself and help others. Her life is a testament to this. It seems that many  prison programs are what help bring about healing in so many broken souls who've found themselves incarcerated. They are finally in a place to learn things they were never taught, grow in understanding, education, and empathy, as well as heal themselves through the help of therapists, dogs, and volunteers who assert their worthiness to be loved even when they themselves can't yet see it.

Dr. Van Der Kolk, the author of the famed book, "The Body Keeps the Score" says, "We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present. Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way the mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.”  This is of paramount importance for all of us to learn.  The trauma Laura experienced in childhood shaped the rest of her life. Thankfully, she came to learn this and dealt with her trauma head on. May we all learn to do the hard thing, just as Laura has.

Laura's quote: "Do unto others as you'd like done unto you."

Defy Ventures

What is Gramercy?

Stories from those who live and work on the margins of society.