Victor, a Ready to Work trainee, generously shared his story about his amazing transition from homelessness to the Ready to Work program. Please read his story to learn about the transformative power of Bridge House’s Ready to Work program.
Before Victor became homeless, he had dreams of becoming a sous chef. He went to school to earn his cooking degree, finished a two-year program, and was on his way. Then he hit a bump in the road.
Victor had been living with and taking care of his mother for 2 years. When she needed more help than he could give her, she moved into an assisted living facility. Without his mother to care for, Victor lost his home and ended up living on the street penniless and scared.
For months he carried around everything he owned in a cart and was forced to look for food in dumpsters. While on the street, another homeless individual reached out to Victor and took him under his wing. He showed Victor the safe places to sleep, where to eat and take showers. One day he took Victor to Bridge House for breakfast and Victor finally had a warm meal, the first he had eaten in a long time.
At one point, Victor had all of his possessions stolen. With only the clothes on his back, he went to Bridge House for help. Not only did he receive regular meals, the case managers also helped him replace his lost clothing and gave him bus fare to go to doctor’s appointments for his asthma and high blood pressure. Victor also wanted a job, but found it difficult to be taken seriously by potential employers while still homeless. With the help of Bridge House’s Resource Center, he learned about the Ready to Work program and applied in June of 2015.
“I felt low when I was living on the street, but I have always been a “glass half-full” sort of person. I had hope for change and I had my faith in God to see me through.”
Once Victor was accepted into the program he worked on the Ready to Work contract with Boulder’s Opens Space and Mountain Parks Division to build trails, provided supplemental sanitation on the Pearl Street Mall and harvested vegetables at a local farm. In August, when Bridge House opened the Ready to Work House and Employment Center, Victor was one of the first residents to move in.
While working on the Ready to Work crew, Bridge House’s employment specialist helped Victor find another part-time job at a local King Soopers to supplement his income. Eventually, King Soopers offered him a full-time position where he soon afterwards earned the Employee of the Month award.
“Joining Ready to Work was the best thing I could have done for myself,” Victor said. “My life had purpose again and I was able to change the direction I was going in. During my time on the street I could have given up and started drinking, but I chose to work on changing my situation.”
With the support of Ready to Work case managers, transitional employment and housing, Victor had the tools he needed to transform his life. Over the next several months, Victor was able to save money, regain his self-confidence. He recently moved to California to be closer to his family.
Victor says his mom is doing well in assisted living and calls her every week. She is so proud of his accomplishments and how he took the initiative to change his life. Victor appreciates the opportunity that Ready to Work has given him and is very thankful to Isabel McDevitt and the entire Ready to Work staff for all of the support they provided.
This is just one of the many success stories about how Bridge House’s Ready to Work program changes the face of homelessness in Boulder.