I was born and raised in the small town of Covington, Louisiana where I was forced to endure a tragedy that no child – no human being – should ever have to endure. At the tender age of 5, I lost my mother forever when she was murdered in our own home at the hands of my father.
For decades, my memories of what happened that day haunted me.
Despite my decision to enlist in the military, tour the Far East and relocate to California, drugs and alcohol seemed to be my only means of escape from reality and the addiction quickly spiraled out of control.
I spent the next 16 years drifting in and out of homelessness, sleeping in tents, abandoned cars and condemned buildings. Each passing day was filled with hopelessness, despair and the growing fear that I was destined to die out there on the streets of Inglewood.
Then in July of 2004, United Way partner New Directions, Inc. took me under its wing and put a roof over my head, vowing to love me until I could love myself again. After rebuilding my fragile self-esteem, they showed me how to take responsibility for my actions and to deal with past trauma while also resisting temptation.
I am now a clean, sober and active member of society living in a cozy, one-bedroom apartment and working full-time as a medical support assistant at the Veterans Affairs Women’s Clinic in West L.A.
In the long run, I hope to utilize both my VA loan and CNA license to establish a private, senior care facility where I can nurture others and do for them exactly what was done for me.