Having a record and being an addict, you think there are no open doors for you. But Growing Home opens those doors. There’s hope out there.
I struggled with addiction for thirty years of my life. I was homeless, addicted to drugs, and living a very unhealthy lifestyle. I got to the point where I lost everything I had, and knew I had to make a change.
First, I had to find a place to live. I just recently signed my second year lease. That’s the longest time I’ve ever lived somewhere. Being an addict, everything was day to day. I was always traveling around. I also have a case manager through who took me to my group meetings and appointments, including at Cabrini Green Legal Aid.
Cabrini Green Legal Aid first introduced me to Growing Home when I was seeking to expunge my record and to gain my footing in the workplace. I knew that securing a job was the next step and an integral part of having a stable future. I did some research before I applied by reading about Growing Home’s core values and stories from previous participants, and it all really attracted me to the employment training program. I knew it would help me with what I needed.
Being selected as a Production Assistant at Growing Home offered me many different tools to find stable work. The staff really helped me build up my resume, and we had the ability to do mock interviews and practice our elevator pitch– all of that is key. Growing Home also helped me get my driving permit, and I even learned about urban agriculture. To see something grow that you planted, and then you harvest it and other people get to taste it– it’s a really cool thing.
Through the program, I learned how to be stable in a job. But it wasn’t just a job-readiness program. You get paid training, and you also secure a connection. There’s never been a day that I came to Growing Home and wasn’t given the support I needed. Having that support gives me the ability and confidence to hold a job. I’ve built so much confidence since I’ve been here. And now I have a job, too.
My goal is to be financially stable, and to save for a vehicle so I can go on long road trips on my days off work. I’m excited about the future. I know I will have job stability, and I look forward to being able to come back to Growing Home and help the next cohort. That’s what is so great: you can always come back.