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“After I lost my home that I had owned out-right when I couldn’t pay the property taxes because of my addiction to opiates, I was living in an abandoned house with mice, rats, and roaches. I finally hit rock bottom when I snorted a huge line of heroin and fell out on 103rd Street and woke up in the emergency room. A lady from Gateway’s Project Save Lives visited me in the hospital and asked me if I wanted to do something different. I said yes because I was so miserable, doing more and more drugs since I wasn’t feeling the high anymore. I wasn’t raised like this, but heroin doesn’t discriminate. I had burned every single bridge – lost my family, friends, and son – my dad wouldn’t even talk to me anymore.
So I went to detox for a week before moving to Awakenings House where I started working the steps. I then came to Operation New Hope because it was hard for me to find work with a prior felony conviction. And I’m so glad I did! The Ready4Work program paid for 3 months of transitional housing and connected me with a great job at Goodwill, where I have worked ever since.
I earned Employee-of-the-Month last month at work. I run the register, count the draws and even make runs to the bank. That’s a lot of trust, and the old me wouldn’t have been able to handle it. But now I care about what I do when no one is looking today, because I’m the one who has to deal with the bad feelings. I’m working on getting my GED and enrolling in a program to get my CDL. I plan to drive for Goodwill where I can earn up to $18 per hour.
I’m taking the hustle I had and applying it to the right things now. I am renting my own room with a wonderful woman who was willing to let me live with her despite my 84 prior arrests. I’m just back from visiting with my father, working on repairing that relationship. I’m trying to be more spiritual with my walk with God, and next month I’ll be 2 years sober. I am helping other young women now – it’s what I live for. I love it when I see girls I used to know and get to tell them how good it is to be on this side of life. I’ve recommended 5 girls to Operation New Hope.
I can’t believe how good my life is now. I want to love me, take care of me, and hopefully rebuild my relationship with my son. Operation New Hope, Goodwill and Awakenings House have opened so many doors and I’m so thankful. I now know that when you do the right thing, so many other good things happen. I have hope.”
With the skills learned and confidence gained from our Ready4Release and Ready4Work programs, our participants go on to become productive community members and build successful careers earning living wages.