Shane offers a big smile as he sits down on a break from working as Supervisor at Ready to Work Boulder. He shares his story in hopes of showing others that self-sufficiency is possible, despite the past. A native of Wisconsin, Shane grew up in a home with his mother and sister. He suffered a significant loss at age 13 when his mother passed away suddenly. Shane’s extended family took turns caring for the children, moving them to several homes over the next few years, but there was never a feeling of permanence. Shane went on to graduate high school and he briefly attended college, but eventually dropped out. Gradually, he followed a darker path and became involved with the wrong people. He moved to Colorado in 2019, living on the streets, using and selling drugs and participating in a life of crime. These choices eventually caught up to him. He shares, “I spent time in jail for my mistakes. One night, as I stared at the wall of my jail cell, I had a reckoning. I asked whatever power is out there to help me have the strength to overcome this.”
Shane found the Ready to Work program at a point when he was struggling to overcome his difficult past. “At the time, Ready to Work was my only option for some semblance of a life. I attained self-sufficiency and I know now that I have a lot of knowledge that I can give to others.” After graduation from Ready to Work, he found an apartment and was hired as an Outdoor Supervisor for the RTW landscaping crew. He enjoys working outdoors and acting as a mentor towards trainees in the program.
Things certainly look different now than when Shane joined Ready to Work as an intern in the Winter of 2020. He now has plans for his future and looks forward to what lies ahead. Shane is currently studying to become a certified Colorado Peer and Family Specialist through a specialized training program offered to staff at Bridge House. He has dreams of owning his own home and hopes to eventually become a Director at Ready to Work. Shane believes, “Every person has needs and each individual is going to require a different template for treatment. I really love watching people learn and grow, finding a new way to take care of themselves.”
At Ready to Work, we believe in our graduates. We know there is no better way to understand the struggles of incarceration, addiction, and homelessness than through lived experience. Shane is a prime example of what the power of persistence can achieve. He has worked hard to become self-sufficient and acts as an advocate for trainees and employees alike; “I believe it’s important that you speak up. If you don’t, no one knows your struggles and you can’t find a way to fix it. I hope I can teach the trainees that they should always speak up for themselves.”