The Free Press, Mankato, MN

No Direction Home

December 22, 2013

No Direction Home, Day 3: From prison cell to college campus

She credits the Welcome Inn with helping her climb out of despair

She started hanging around with the wrong crowd when she was 12. From there, Angie Herz's life was a steady of stream of bad decisions and bad outcomes.

She's exchanged sex for drugs, sold drugs in a convenience store parking lot, used methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol. Got pregnant and couldn't stop using drugs, which resulted in a miscarriage at four months. Eventually, her wild and dangerous ride ended in prison. Which for her was a good thing. That's where she turned her life around.

Today, the 30-year-old Herz is an example of a success story. After leaving prison, Herz came home to Mankato where she stayed for a few months at the Welcome Inn. The homeless shelter gave her a chance to continue the self-discovery process she'd begun in prison and stabilize her life.

Today, she's a student at Minnesota State University, in a healthy relationship with a man in Waterville, and confident she's past the poor and often dangerous decisions that landed her at rock bottom.

But before she could pick herself up, Herz had to fall. And the beginning of that fall — which was more like a plummet — was at age 12. That's when she started hanging out, she says, with the wrong crowd. At the same time, she says her mother was in an abusive relationship.

That prompted her to go live with her father. But that didn't last long either. Midway through 10th grade at St. Clair High School, she got kicked out of school for, in her words, "disobeying everyone." So she went to live with her sister in Richfield.

Up until that point she was experimenting with drugs a little. When she moved, the drug use got amped up.

She started doing cocaine and was hanging out with her sister's older friends. The guys would supply her with drugs.

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No Direction Home