Latriste was honored by Goodwill Easter seals as the "Metro Participant of the Year" an award that is given to participants that have made major inroads in their life and has progressed in positive ways.
She will also be placed in a pool to be nominated for "Participant of the Year"
In addition, Latriste was 1 of 5 individuals chosen for the "Micro Grant Recipient of the Year" This was an award that was selected from
369 recipients that received a $1000 grant. The award was based on those that best utilized the $1000 grant.
Latriste has spoken at several of Goodwill Easter seals events such as;
"Day in the Life" This is for new employee orientation for people starting at Goodwill Easter Seals
"Job Club" Participants that are enrolled in our programs seeking employment, she is someone we ask to come in to help motivate other ex-offenders.
Recently Latriste was asked to speak at an awards banquet for our "GIVS" program, a program that is a resource for housing, car repairs, etc.. This program helped her in the past, because of her success, they asked her to speak at their event.
Latriste Graham is the founder of Coming Out of Bondage, a program that serves women leaving prostitution. I have been clean and sober for over 5 years, since October 2008.
I grew up on the west side of Chicago, Rockwell Gardens projects, surrounded by drugs, gangs, abuse, prostitution, violence, killing, pimps, and every other kind of criminal element. At the age of 14, I began getting involved in the crime that surrounded me. For 29 years I had a drug addiction, suffered abuse, was involved with a gang, was a gang leader, and prostitution. I have both physical and emotional scars from these years of violence.
In October 2007, I made a decision to go into treatment in Chicago. While I was there, my roommate told me about her experience and what it was like in MN. I completed my treatment in November of 2007, my treatment counselor helped find someone to sponsor me in MN. I secured $100 for a bus ticket through a family member. I came to Minnesota with nothing, aside from these few contacts for aftercare. I started my recovery, attending prostitution and drug support groups. I got into transitional housing. After 1 year clean, I returned to Chicago to rescue my sister out of prostitution. While I was there, I also rescued another woman out of prostitution thus began Coming Out Of Bondage. From 2008 until now we have helped 100 women into safety. I was able to help these women. I got her to MN and helped her transition out of bondage.
My street outreach talking with women on the streets, leaving my number with them, posting flyers. I have created some eligibility criteria and explain my expectations, what women need to do in order for me to help them. If they are serious and ready to leave. We sign up for a rule 25 assessment, get them into a treatment program. These women go into a shelter until they can get into a treatment center or shelter. Through Micro-Grant funds and my church Shiloh Temple International Ministries, and individuals donations we I have been able to provide basic needs such as hygiene items, clothing, food or other immediate needs.
I know the damage that prostitution, drugs, and abuse can have on a woman from my own experience. These women and children need a fresh start, and they need to know they are cared for. I am still healing from my own experiences. Each day it seems I am understanding and appreciating the beauty in life a little more. I notice things now that I would never have noticed. I have strong faith in God, which has played a big part of my recovery. I am passionate about helping these women and children create a safer, better, happier life.
I continue to work with my church. I have connections to mentors who continue to help me with planning and organizing this powerful organization. We eventually want to be able to provide housing support for the women.We currently are in search of a house or property that can meet that purpose as the need is great to meet this purpose.