"I'm 33. I was born in Friendswood, but I moved to Katy when I was 3. I lived there until I was about 28 so for 25 years. All my family is over there still.
It was a fine childhood other than my dad taking my mom's life when I was seven. I went to live with my aunt and uncle and their two children at that time. Everything was fine; I had a normal childhood. I just wasn't raised by my natural parents. My dad was incarcerated until this past September, actually. He was in there for 26 years. He just got out. I haven't seen him or anything, but he's out.
I graduated from high school in 2001 out in Katy. And I graduated from [University of Houston] 4 years later. My major was advertising, public relations.
I did sales and marketing for a few years. I was single, and I had money to spend. In college I just smoked pot, but after that I started doing more. For that 9-10 year stretch after college, I started experimenting, and it led to strong addiction to that stuff: painkillers, Xanax, pot. It was really heavy. I ended up getting arrested like 3 times in 2014. Ultimately I ended up in Star of Hope
in one of the spiritual programs. That was an 8 month-long program. I graduated that April in 2016.
I heard a couple of case managers talking about the Food Bank program one day. I wasn't even a part of the conversation - I just overheard it. I barged into them and I said 'I want to do that.' I found out SER was doing the program, so I applied for it and got accepted.
The classroom portion of [Serving for Success
] was informative. Rickey [Davis, SER Workforce Development Lead] and Amy [Burnette, SER Serving for Success Workforce Development Lead] did a great job doing that. Interviewing skills, I really enjoyed because it had been a while since I had an actual interview. There was a two or three year stretch there when I had legal issues or drug issues, I didn't have a job. I knew I had to interview for the on-the-job training portion of the program. I wasn't nervous; I was just out of practice. As far as the training portion, the working on-the-job, I liked that because of the cause. It's a non-profit.
I got the on-the-job training that they offered for five weeks. During those five weeks, I got noticed by a non-profit called Brighter Bites
. They operate out of the Food Bank; they're a partner. They came to Amy Burnette one day; this is about the time that I was almost done with on-the-job training. They asked her if she knew of anyone that would be a good fit in the warehouse, and she put my name in the mix. About a week later I interviewed with [Brighter Bites], and I got hired on the spot. They offered me $15 an hour, and I'm thankful I have that job. I love it. I go to work every day, I never make an excuse not to go to work like I used to. I love this job. It's the best job I've ever had. It's fulfilling, because all of the food I prepare and all the orders I make up of produce, they go to children that are underprivileged.
First off, I want to save some money and eventually get my own place. I'm still [at Star of Hope], but I'm in the transitional living center, in my own room. I don't want to stay there all my life, but I'll stay there as long as I need to.
I love my job; I love the people I work with; I love what they're about. So I definitely want to stick with this non-profit and move up. The stuff I'm doing now; I think that was my purpose. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Honestly, if I didn't have this job, I really don't know what I'd be doing right now. I never would've gotten this opportunity if [Serving for Success] didn't accept me. Grateful isn't enough to describe it. I'm just so blessed."
if you'd like to learn more about SER's Serving for Success Program.