Single mom goes from jail cell to store manager

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

From serving time behind bars, to serving expectant mothers in need, one Valley mother is hoping to inspire others. Valerie Santos has beaten the odds, thanks to a Valley non-profit organization called Maggie's Place.

Judging by her appearance and polite nature, you'd never guess Santos has a checkered past filled with poor decisions. "I ended up in jail for four months of my pregnancy," she said.

That was three years ago. But now she works at Maggie's Thrift. The secondhand social enterprise is run by residents and employees of Maggie's Place. The housing solution for expectant mothers in need offers professional guidance and helps motivate mothers who need a hand.

"We're always having to be accountable for everything that we're doing; had to get a job go to school," Santos said. The mother of five boys admits it wasn't easy, but says she knew she had hit rock bottom. "I knew that's not where I wanted to be. My kids mean everything to me and I just had to continue doing whatever I was doing, making progress," she said.

Santos got her Associate's Degree in Business Management and Accounting and has worked her way to the top at Maggie's Place. She was just promoted to manager. Santos doesn't even want to think about where she and her children would be if it weren't for Maggie's Place and says she hopes her hard work and diligence inspire others.

For information, visit: www.maggiesplace.org