Her name is Michelle Collazo. You'd never guess that this well-spoken and polite young lady has a felony record, or that she has spent much of her short life in jail She never had a chance. At age 7, she began using drugs and alcohol. By he time she was 12, she was dealing. At age 14, she advanced into heavier drugs and bigger problems. Prostitution. Gangs. A mule. She had been through 25 rehabs, but nothing worked. She finally was sent to state prison, where she got some help, and has been clean for two years. She works for a temp agency and is paid $8 an hour.
Collazo is part of the Helping Hands Ministry, which recently acquired a property on Utica Street for single women who are homeless. This is sorely needed. There are only two programs for homeless women in Allentown, compared to 25 for men.
Her organization is planning a fundraiser in October, and is also looking for volunteers and donations. I have asked her to provide me with more information about a banquet being planned, and when I get it, I'll pass it along.
This strong woman has no education, but is planning on getting a college degree and getting certified as a drug counselor.