Jocelyn Cabral, ’18, fought a serious drug addiction for years. Later this month, she will walk across the stage at commencement, clean and sober, to receive her degree in social work. Yet already she’s hard at work on her new career, which involves helping those who are still stuck in the kind of life she left behind.
For her efforts, Jocelyn has been named by the Massachusetts Department of Education as one of its “29 Who Shine” for 2018. According to the department’s website, the program recognizes 29 outstanding student graduates, one from each of the campuses in the state system, based on their leadership potential and desire and willingness to work in a field where there is a demonstrated need.
The honorees are nominated by a faculty or staff member, or by a university awards committee.
Jocelyn grew up in Fall River and as a young adult became addicted to drugs, including heroin. For a time, she lived with a prostitute and even sold drugs. It took many years for her to get clean, but eventually she did so. She said she was tired of watching friends and family members die due to drug addiction – including her beloved brother.
Jocelyn went back to school, and is now preparing to graduate from BSU. She is in the process of turning her three-family home in Fall River into a recovery house that she has named the Jordan Matthew house, in honor of her brother. For Jocelyn, this represents the act of turning the negatives of her past into a positive future for herself and others. “I decided I want to work in treatment,” she said. “I want to help people who are struggling like I was, and dedicate my time to reducing the stigma and the number of opioid deaths as much as I can.”
For this and more, the state decided to honor her as one of its “29 Who Shine.”
You can read Jocelyn’s full story in the most recent edition of Bridgewater magazine (page 30). (Story by John Winters, G’11, University News)