Voices of Hope – Shelby M.

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“I’m from Gulf Shores, Alabama and I’ve been working in the service industry since I was old enough to work. I started bartending at 21, and it was a lot of fun, but I got into a lot of trouble. When a friend came to visit me and saw the life I was living, she packed my bags and told me I needed to go straight to Operation New Hope. She had just gone through the Ready4Work program and said it was just what I needed to turn my life around. I knew I needed to change, so I took her advice. I checked into detox to sober up and then came to Jacksonville to start the Ready4Work program.”

“Coming to Operation New Hope gave me the structure I needed to be successful in my recovery and get my life on track. The Ready4Work classes were awesome. They got me out of the halfway house and gave me something positive to do with my time. All the modules were super informative. They taught me important life, employment, and recovery skills. I learned good information about financial savings that I have been able to apply since. My mental health counselor, case manager, and job coach were all great and helped so much. They worked with my probation officer back home so that I could get that all cleared.”

“Since graduating the Ready4Work program, I’ve been doing great. During the initial COVID shutdown, I took the opportunity to complete my high school degree in only one week. I told myself, if I could do that in just a week, imagine what else can I accomplish. I worked at Dollar Tree as an essential worker until the restaurant industry started opening back up, and got hired at Uptown Kitchen in July 2020. I’ve been there ever since, and I love it. The team is supportive, and the work environment is great. We are busier than ever, smashing even pre-pandemic records.”

“I’m doing the best I’ve ever done. Sobriety is beyond my wildest dreams. I am saving money and have moved out of the halfway house into my own apartment. I enrolled at FSCJ and I’m currently completing the pre-requisites needed to start the radiography program. I really want to go into sonography, but plan to keep my options open. I am really happy here in Jacksonville – there is so much more opportunity here. I’m setting my sights now on long-term goals like buying a car and house.”

“I was so consumed by the life was was living before. I felt like such a disappointment. But now I’m really proud of myself and it feels so good!”

Inspired by this story and want more like it? Read all of our Voices of Hope here!

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