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San Diego woman makes most of second chance thanks to reentry programs

Posted at 7:20 AM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 10:20:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A local mother said the mistakes she has made don’t define her, but what she did when she got a second chance clearly does.

“It's not where we start that defines us, it is where we end up.”

Angela Carapia is reading from “A Fierce Heart,” the book that helped her find the strength to get her life on track after a choice derailed it eight years ago.

“My mom was recently diagnosed with pulmonary idiofibrosis, my son was leaving for Cal State Bakersfield,” Carapia said.

As a single mother, Carapia said she was looking for a way to secure the money for her son’s education.

“I didn't think I was going to get caught, I was transporting. The car was already on this side of the border and I just had to drive it up to L.A.,” she said. “I thought, fast money, get the money, and so it wasn't so fast. I ended up in jail.”

Carapia ended up at Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee.

“I needed to do some soul searching and fix myself and the old me wasn't going to get me out of where I was,” she said.

Fortunately, she didn’t have to do that alone.

“All these reentry groups that I have attended helped me to refocus on myself and learn to love myself and accept myself for who I am,” Carapia said.

The reentry groups offered by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department are classes and workshops that teach everything from communication skills and culinary arts to finances and healing through performing arts.

“It’s very therapeutic,” Carapia said of the programs. “You do bits of Shakespeare, but within that you also have reflection questions. So it makes you think and a lot of it was learning to grow through these situations.”

Studying Shakespeare’s insights into the human condition opened Carapia’s eyes to her own motivations and connecting with others.

“I don't take things personal. I've learned to not be so hard on myself,” said Carapia.

She has been hard at work, earning certificates in just about every reentry program offered.

Carapia even won the Oasis Award for exceptional achievement in the “Kitchens for Good” management program.

As part of an apprenticeship, she is working at Sombrero restaurant in Grantville -- all part of finding the right recipe for her life.

“Second chances are there for everybody, I'm living proof. They are there for you,” said Carapia.

Learn more about the sheriff’s department’s reentry programs at