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CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
DAUGHTER OF MUSIC LEGEND RAY CHARLES VISITS HOUSE OF CORRECTION TO ADDRESS, INSPIRE INMATES IN RECOVERY
Sheila Raye Charles, the daughter of legendary musician Ray Charles, recently visited inmates at the Suffolk County House of Correction.
Speaking before a group of inmates engaged in substance abuse recovery programming, Ms. Charles sought to offer a supportive voice by sharing her own story of addiction and recovery.
During her visit, Ms. Charles spoke about her past of substance abuse, sexual abuse, and incarceration. Although she is the daughter of Ray Charles and a musician herself, she had not met her father until the age of twelve. At the tender age of 15, she ran away from home and began using crack cocaine, which eventually led to a twenty–year addiction and a strained relationship with her mother, and five children.
Following her third incarceration in federal prison, Sheila Raye Charles made an active effort to seek out God and reclaim her life. Currently traveling the world providing her testimony to inmates and using her life story to expose the realities of substance abuse, she offers a representation of what is possible.
“I lost custody of my children, my mom didn’t trust me, and when she called on me I was too high to help her,” Ms. Charles said to the forty–plus inmates that filled the room.
“God told me that in order to be filled with good, I had to let go of the bad stuff. Now I’m touring the world, spreading my message, because of Him.”
Ms. Charles then invited a man who accompanied her to the House of Corrections, along with Reverend Laura Ahart, a Chaplain of Nashua Street Jail, to help lead the group in prayer, asking the inmates to accept God into their lives.
The visit was concluded with an original musical selection that the songstress encouraged the inmates to join her in singing. Her presence, much like the song, appeared to leave the day’s attendees feeling both hopeful and inspired.