Born to a drug-addicted mother, Angie Elsbury began using drugs in elementary school and became an intravenous heroin user by the age of 15. As a teen and into her adulthood, she bounced in and out of jails and institutions.
"I was a junkie all my life," Elsbury said. "It was all I knew. I never had aspirations or dreams or anything like that. I just figured that was what life was about."
If anyone needed a second chance, it was this young woman.
After her last release from prison in 2005, she committed herself to improving her life and proving the skeptics wrong. She reached out to the Second Chance program, which provides job-readiness and life-skills training, employment placement and affordable housing for the homeless and unemployed. Sharp Health Plan supports Second Chance through financial support and commitment to its board.
Elsbury completed the Job Readiness Training Program and secured a job bagging groceries at Vons. She was soon invited to move to the meat department as an apprentice, and nine months later, she was accepted into the Vons in-house meat cutting school.
She recently completed a two-year meat cutting apprenticeship, and today, she is the meat department manager at Vons La Jolla.
"When I left Second Chance, I was determined to be the best I could be at my new job whatever it was," Elsbury said. "Second Chance participants learn to be the best they can be at their new jobs, whatever those jobs are. Vons noticed my work ethic and has been really good to me. I'm so grateful the company believes in giving second chances."
Find a San Diego Psychiatrist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego psychiatrist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.
For More Information
To find general information about mental health, visit Mental Health Disorders in Adult Health or read the Mental Health News archive.
To learn more about the positive impact Sharp physicians, nurses, staff and volunteers have on the San Diego community, visit Community Benefits Report. To learn more about Sharp's involvement in the community, visit Community Programs and Health Education. To read more stories like this one, visit Community Benefits Stories.