Here's an uplifting story for the holiday season from another of our partner agencies, St. Joseph the Worker:
With Mesa United Way’s partnership and support, St. Joseph the Worker (SJW) can offer our quality job development services in collaboration with other social service agencies – essentially creating partnerships that comprehensively serve those in need. Conrad’s story is a great example highlighting the power of working with other agencies to obtain impactful outcomes.
It was another warm day in the Valley late this summer when a disheveled thirty-five year old Conrad first met with Carol, SJW’s job developer in Mesa’s St. Vincent de Paul dining hall. Living on the streets, his drug addiction had led to unemployment, homelessness, and severed ties to his family on the east coast. It had also cost him most of his possessions and ambition as well as the majority of his teeth. But on this particular day, Conrad decided he was ready for his life to change. Conrad sat down and resolutely declared “I don’t want to do drugs or be homeless anymore.”
Together with SJW’s job developer, they created a game plan for his successful job-search. Carol connected him with job leads, daily bus passes to apply and interview, and a referral to A New Leaf for shelter. While job-searching, Conrad spent any spare time volunteering for St. Vincent to keep busy and not be tempted to fall back into drug use.
Conrad diligently searched for jobs, and studied and passed the Food Handlers’ certificate test. In less than 60 days, he was able to accept a job offer from a local bakery. SJW provided him with the employer required appropriate clothing, non-skid shoes, and a monthly bus pass. Conrad has moved into a sober living facility that he really enjoys and is reasonably close to his new job. Once he received a paycheck, he purchased a bike to subsidize the public transportation’s schedule limitations, as well as a phone, and opened a bank account. A compassionate private contribution from a valley dentist supplied Conrad with a new full set of teeth.
Conrad’s transformation has been an amazing experience for all the agencies that collaborated in order for him to receive the support he needed, at the moment he was ready! Today, with the holiday season upon us, clean and sober, working and saving for a place of his own; Conrad is a shining example of what the human spirit capable of accomplishing. With a determined and optimistic demeanor, Conrad has also reconnected with his family back east, and is well on the path back to self-sufficiency. A testimony to the benevolence of the Mesa community, Conrad has been able to overcome enormous challenges, transition from addiction, hopelessness, and despair, to a confident, contributing member of the community.