Getting your life back

“Bronx Community Solutions gave me the motivation I needed to start repairing my life.” James (not his real name) is a college graduate who’s career goal was to be a health care administrator at a major hospital. But, as he says, “once you get into drugs, your life is frozen and you stop growing.”

After he began using crack and cocaine, James began selling DVDs to support himself, instead of pursuing his career. Before long James found himself being arrested multiple times for possession and other charges and he was sentenced to Bronx Community Solutions a total of three times over a period of more than a year. James says that things didn’t improve overnight – in fact it took a long time for things to improve – but the respect and encouragement that he got at Bronx Community Solutions influenced him to start getting his life back together.

“When you’ve been using drugs, you lose a sense of who you are. You have to begin reaffirming who you are, reasserting your identity, and building up your will power. No matter how much assistance you receive, no on is going to help you when you go back to your neighborhood. You know you weren’t born this way. I wanted to find the old James, the one who wanted to go to college, and start salvaging the good parts of my life. Not only that, but once I stopped using, I found out new things about myself as well.”

James began receiving public assistance, but he says there are important benefits to working, which gives him direction and focus. Bronx Community Solutions’ case managers helped James with job referrals, and even helped find him clothing to wear for interviews. Right now, he’s been working for the Parks Department for five months. His position is a seasonal job, and he came back to Bronx Community Solutions for suggestions and assistance with employment after his Parks job ends. He says, “A lot of people here in the Bronx are hard pressed for counseling, and someone to listen. There’s a lot of joblessness and hopelessness. Programs like Bronx Community Solutions are vital – and hopefully in some cases they can catch people before they waste a lot of time, like I did, and help people jumpstart their lives and get on the right track.”

Comments

Bill said…
Tell James people are rooting for him!
Joe Singleton said…
Thanks Ben, We all strive to be able to tell these success stories as much as possible in our hard work, but unfortunately we hear them sparingly, but when we hear a fabulous story like yours it always
validates all the tough work we encounter each and every day, and for me it reminds me why I love the feeling I get when I hear a success story such as yours, Thanks.
mike f said…
Great piece and great work!