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Choosing Family

Parolee makes positive changes through support and perseverance

BARSTOW • In celebration of his son’s fourth birthday, Carlos Loomis was able to hand his son $4 of tip money from his pocket as he arrived home from work — a small gesture that speaks to the larger changes in Loomis’ life since being released from prison in March 2012.

“Having family support is really the only way this is possible,” Loomis, 29, said. “I can’t tell them thank you enough.”

Along with his girlfriend Patricia Estudillo, Loomis is raising four children under the age of eight with one more on the way.

Loomis’ old lifestyle — which led to felonies and five prison terms — took Loomis away from his family, both while he was serving time and when he chose to spend time with his gang rather than his family.

“My best friends are my family right now,” Loomis explains.

When he was released from prison in March, Loomis stayed at home with his children and had no plans of getting a job. Having received his GED and 50 college credits while incarcerated, Loomis wanted to go back to school.

Instead, Loomis’ parole officer, Maria Kirby, told him that he needed to start applying to jobs every day. In August, Kirby also connected him with Randy Ponce at the Department of Workforce Development in Victorville.

Because Loomis had never been employed before, the application process was intimidating. Ponce helped Loomis create a resume and look for jobs through the Department of Workforce Development.

“We don’t give them a job as much as provide leads,” Kirby explained. “They have to get the job and sustain it.”

Loomis was able to do just that after months of perseverance and determination, applying to a wide variety of jobs and preparing for possible rejection.

Eventually, Loomis was offered a job to work the graveyard shift at Little Sister Truck Wash. He has also recently been hired by H & B Refrigeration.

“It takes some wanting on my side,” Loomis says. “I’m not lazy. I’ll do the best that I can.”

Loomis said the best part of being employed is being able to support his family.

“To be honest, when I do get paid, I throw it in the bank. I just want it to go to my family,” Loomis said. “It feels great. All my kids are in sports, all my daughters are going to be little ballerinas.”

Loomis is motivated by the fact that it becomes harder and harder to start over after every prison sentence. During his last prison term, Loomis focused not on the past, but on his family and the future.

“In my old life, you get ahead of yourself. Now I focus on one day at a time, focus on today, and put my family first.” he said. “It’s OK to change. It’s OK to grow and take responsibility.”

While Loomis is working to build a new future for himself, he recognizes the struggles facing people in similar positions to his own.

“You have nothing going for yourself. Life’s not pleasant,” Loomis said, of being released from prison.

Loomis is grateful that he had his family to come back to after prison. He has made the choice to focus on his family, and not spend time out with his old friends even though he still cares deeply about them.

“I have a lot of love for the guys I grew up with,” he says. “But if you love me, you won’t take me away from my family. They respect what I’m doing enough to not knock on my door.”

Loomis understands that environment can deeply affect people, but that people also make choices.

“I don’t think less of anybody,” Loomis says. “Everybody has a choice. I’m choosing to do things different this time.”

With guidance from Kirby and Ponce — and the support of his extended family — Loomis choices are leading to a new lifestyle, with family and employment.

“We live and we learn and hopefully it’s not too late,” Loomis said.

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