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This week, Hilary and Jason are joined by Kristina Padilla, Vice President of Education and Strategic Development for the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. Kristina got involved with gangs and drugs in her teenage years to fit in, feel powerful, and pass the time she had by herself. However, the drugs soon took over and she one day found herself looking up at the ceiling surrounded by paramedics who had revived her after an overdose. This is the day Kristina believes was the turning point in which she no longer wanted to be shackled by this toxic lifestyle. Today, Kristina has turned her tribulations into her triumphs. She began working in the California prison system as a mentor and counselor out of a desire to help people. She began to speak to inmates in hopes of inspiring them, especially those in for life, that although they did a bad deed, they are not bad people and that not all is lost. Kristina also talks about how she draws on her past experiences with drugs and gang life, as well as her gender fluidity, as a helpful means to relate to those incarcerated. Due to these advantages, she talks about how she wouldn’t want to change anything about her past as it has led to all this good in the present. Kristina has experienced a lot in her life and has achieved almost too many titles to list, but she believes she has truly found her purpose in this life.

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