Savannah gets a chance to change her life

Posted on Jun 25, 2019

After going to a meeting at the parole office, Savannah Pastusak was introduced to Valley Apprenticeship Connections and since then her life took a positive turn. At the age of 13, Pastusak was sentenced to juvenile hall and then served a prison sentence. Once released, VAC gave Pastusak the opportunity she needed for a second chance at life.

“I feel I was given an opportunity,” Pastusak said. “I feel good about myself.” Now a single mother with a 3-year-old son, VAC gave her a positive pathway out of prison and into a career.

Pastusak remembers her life before she was incarcerated, growing up in the foster care system, without a family and upset with the circumstances. “I was angry and hurt,” Pastusak said. “I just didn’t care. After getting out, I was just trying to make something of my life. Everyone was always doubting me, not giving me the opportunity and the chance.”

With the program, Pastusak learned the fundamentals of construction, how to lay down concrete, take measurements and how to interact with different people on the job.  Pastusak scored a 99 out of 100 on the physical fitness test and attributes the program for her success.

“VAC is really supportive,” Pastusak said. “I can call any of the staff at any time. I’ll tell them about my problems or if I’m having any issues at work. Whenever I go in and talk to them, they always give me positive feedback.”

After graduating, Pastusak continues to keep in touch with other participants. One of them is also a parolee and works at the same job site. “VAC is like my family and my support group,” Pastusak said. “The people I met in there that are working or still looking for work, I keep in constant contact with them.”

Pastusak remains an example of what parolees can do once given an opportunity. While working for a labor union, she is able gain a steady income and provide for her family.

“I’m putting into pension, vacation and health care,” Pastusak said. “I’m able to take care of my son and have another chance to do things right. All we ever need is a chance. This program has given me a chance; it changed my life.”

Learn more about VAC