Meet our October Everyday Extraordinary … my dear friend … the fierce and inspirational Constance Latimore. This multi-faceted woman takes fashion to a whole new level of sassy class with wardrobe, hair, and accessory combinations, while keeping her ensemble current with cultural staples and a free-spirit vibe.
All fashion fabulousness aside, the most outstanding and awe-inspiring quality of Constance is her dedication to servant leadership and the investment of her time and energy into loving and encouraging others. Here are some captured moments of her past missions …
Recently, Constance made the life altering decision to resign from her eighteen year managerial position within Corporate America, to propel herself into establishing a non-profit dedicated to the rehabilitation and re-entry programs of American prisoners.
I had the opportunity to sit down over a delicious brunch spread to chat with Constance about her mission and goals within this realm. Here’s what unfolded during our time together …
Me: When did you first realize your calling and passion for prison ministry?
CL: I’ve always been drawn to those who society views as the “underdog”. Prior to beginning my eighteen year career in insurance, I worked as a counselor in a prison for four years. It broke my heart to witness someone released without any family support. They were issued a fresh pair of Dickies pants, white t-shirt, $25, paper bag of their belongings and a bus pass. I would witness many of them return because they lacked the necessary life skills and technical training to navigate the “free world”. A turning point for me was about a year ago when I decided to volunteer for a local re-entry program, teaching life skills … I found most had very few, if any.
Me: What is your plan for an ideal non-profit re-entry program?
CL: Depending on the length of incarceration, many released have zero knowledge of the basic technology platforms we use (i.e., tablets, smart phones, Bluetooth). I plan to establish a non-profit with a direct focus on training curriculum designed to highlight life skills through the following topics: basic customer service, social media etiquette, and communication skills. I also plan to include technical training through the use of computers and tablets. Ideally, I would like to provide a means for transitional housing as a safe place for learning and developing, while also assisting with job searches and career quests.
Me: What motivates and inspires you most about this cause?
CL: I’m motivated most by my experiences watching children grow up without fathers, women carrying on in life without their spouse/life partners, and the disproportion of men to women attendance in our local churches. I believe Biblically that men were created to serve as head of household. With the vast population of incarcerated men in America, our households are suffering. I’m motivated by the desire to return our men to their communities where they are in a position to effectively lead and prosper as I believe they were designed.
Me: Who was your biggest inspiration growing up? How does your upbringing play into your gravitation towards missions and ministry?
CL: My parents were and remain my biggest inspiration. My father is a church Pastor, so I grew up visiting and singing with my parents and our church choir at the local prisons. My parents accepted countless collect calls from family members and people they visited and mentored at the prison. I’ve listened to many conversations as they encouraged and prayed for those on the other end of the call. My parents have always taught my sisters and me to extend grace to others because we have all received God’s grace.
I’ve known Constance for many years and one thing has always remained steady … her love for others. I am proud to call this amazing woman of faith “friend” and “Kingdom sister”. Please join me in celebrating, encouraging, and praying for Constance as she embarks on this new journey in life.
As Mother Teresa so eloquently stated …