Together, we fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community, and with your help, we’re changing lives for the better. These stories offer a glimpse into the positive impact we can have when we LIVE UNITED.
The following story was submitted by our funded partner ICAN Housing.
MA’s upbringing was not the loving and caring home that one would hope for. It was quite the contrary. His parent’s alcoholism left him to fend for himself and his siblings. Eventually he found himself in the foster care system. The brokenness of his home and childhood led MA to display aggressive behavior towards other individuals, which landed him in juvenile prison on several occasions. During high school MA decided to move to Florida where his behavior rendered him in trouble with the law and on probation. It was then that MA decided that he wanted a different life. While in the prison system MA worked to complete High School. This marked the transition to a different life.
However, MA’s life did not change immediately. Even after marrying and starting a family MA encountered difficult obstacles. Moving back to Ohio, MA worked menial dead-end jobs. The employment rut frustrated MA and eventually he turned to excessive drug and alcohol use as an escape. MA became a functioning alcoholic and drug abuser for nearly eight years. Although seemingly able to keep his life afloat he began secluding himself from his wife and family. After several employment opportunity losses, and the departure his wife of ten years and two children, from his life he found himself sleeping alone on the floor in a house with no water and no electricity.
In September 2017, he was approached by an ICAN Outreach Specialist and was introduced to multiple resources in Stark County. Now connected with the Mental Health Care System he was able to understand his diagnosis and progress to changing himself and circumstance. MA obtained sobriety and after several months of couch surfing obtained permanent housing. Settled with a roof over his head and sober MA decided it was time to go back to work. A referral was made to the Supportive Employment Services at ICAN Housing, which would continue the paradigm shift in MA’s life.
MA and the Employment Specialist were keenly aware that recovery is not linear. Various types of employment (Call Center, Food Service and General Labor) were examined to discover an environment that fit MA. MA is now enjoying a positive employment experience at Hilton’s Home2Suites, looking forward to obtaining furniture for his apartment and hopeful for a different way of living.”