TAMPA (FOX 13) - Six months ago, Janet Smith was unpacking, organizing and decorating "Haven of Hope"- a brand new transitional home for women recently released from prison.
Now, Janet's dreams of helping women to get a fresh start have come true.
"It's just been very rewarding to see this happen and to know that you're actually changing lives," said Janet.
Janet's helping Samantha Castro make a change. After spending 18 months in prison, Samantha was ready to give up her old life and start new.
“I guess I finally hit my bottom, and I found God. He's been speaking to me all along but I finally listened,” said Samantha.
Samantha moved into Haven of Hope in January, and in just four months she got a job, she started college and became drug and alcohol free.
"I feel fabulous. I feel fantastic. I wake up 7:00 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I used to sleep all day, so it's a different feeling. I'm very happy," said Samantha.
Janet hopes Samantha can be an example for the other ladies in the house.
"She's done exceedingly well and has shown all types of leadership skills and we're just very proud of her," said Janet.
Janet admits it hasn't all been perfect. Not all the women who come to Haven of Hope decide to stay.
"I guess the biggest surprise to me is they say they want a second chance and then when they come they decide to go back to their old ways. That's my biggest disappointment," said Janet.
But with every setback there are women like Samantha who have truly had enough of their old life, and they ask Janet for help and get guidance from God.
"The whole point of this is its faith-based; we really believe that only God can change lives and we've seen that to be true," said Janet.