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Learning to crochet in prison helped her realize her gift and helped in saving her life

"I was fighting with box-cutters, and razor blades under my tongue, and bats"

ST. LOUIS — There are countless setbacks people can face in our world. But St Louisan Allisha Jones-Pickens believes you can conquer them. She has faced more than a fair share of adversities.

“When I say angry, I was angry,” she explained.

Anger and frustration led Jones-Pickens to become violent.

“I used to fight all the time. I was just lashing out at everything and everybody around me. I was fighting with box-cutters, and razor blades under my tongue, and bats,” she said.

The fighting led to a prison sentence for assault. 

“Seven and half years,” she disclosed.

The time behind bars gave her time to get in touch with herself. She attended counseling alongside other inmates and got a grip on her anger issues.

“Finally broke down and I cried,” she said.

Jones-Pickens found an outlet for her emotions with the help of an elderly inmate.

“She actually saved my life,” she said.

Ella Ross taught her the art of crochet.

“Wasn’t easy. But I’m thankful I stuck with it,” she said.

She did more than stick with it. Jones-Pickens also discovered her special talent. The ability to create by crochet by simply looking at her subject.

Credit: KSDK

“That’s a gift and I know that’s a gift. She taught me to look at it. See it and do it,” she said.

When she was released from prison, Jones-Pickets wasn’t quite sure of her future. 

“It was the most fearful moment in my life because I came home with nothing but prison-issued jogging suit on my back,” she explained.

But she also had the ability to crochet. She started to make life-like dolls and her life began to change. 

She’s made dolls for celebrities like St Louis rapper Nelly, NBA star Jayson Tatum, and TV talk-show host Ellen. 

Credit: Provided photo

The dolls she enjoys making the most are bereavement dolls to help people through their grief.

“People send me videos of someone crying when they pull their doll out of the bag of their loved one who has passed away,” she said.

The touching moments have become her motivation to make a difference and to be a positive influence. 

“That’s my purpose. Just to give back,” she said.

She has faced her fears and is now putting the hands she once fought with to better use.

“I had to get strong enough to step into the unknown, the unfamiliar, who I can be if I just believed that I could do it,” she explained.

Now her goal is to use her crocheting skills to set an example for others by showing them what is possible when you have faith in yourself. 

“Don’t let people tell you that you’re doomed to fail because you made a mistake. Your past does not dictate your future,” she said.

If you would like to know more about her dolls or learn about her foundation here is the link: https://www.communityofhopestl.org/.

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