Stephanie Taylor-Silva has been beaten, raped, stabbed and left for dead. Now she shared her path to recovery and encouraged students to become a mentor for others at BYU-Idaho’s Jacob Spori Building on Friday, March 9. She will be giving her talk at TEDx Idaho Falls on March 10.

Taylor-Silva is a former methamphetamine and cocaine addict, a survivor of childhood abuse, attempted murder, human trafficking, thyroid cancer and, currently, a mentor to numerous offenders.

Taylor-Silva said she can remember hiding in her bedroom closet with her sister while her alcoholic dad threatened to end his life.

She said she started using drugs at 14 while she was coping with the trauma of being sexually abused by her dad’s friend as a preteen.

At age 19, she was charged with drug trafficking.

“Prison is the very best thing that has ever happened to me,” Taylor-Silva said.

Upon her release, she was to check in immediately with her probation officer. Taylor-Silva said she showed up with shower sandals and no coat in the middle of the winter.

“Out of everything I have been through in my life, the scariest was that uncertainty that I faced on that cold 4-mile walk to that probation office,” Taylor-Silva said.

She said her probation officer later became her best friend, encouraging her to pursue her education at Idaho State University and mentoring her.

She gave credit to the Idaho Department of Correction for being her mentor while she was on the path to success, and she received full pardons in both Idaho and Montana in July 2017.

“Had I not had the support from my mentors, I would not have been where I am today,” Taylor-Silva said. “Sometimes the only difference between someone become a success story or a statistic is a mentor.”