“Before I went to Cleanslate, I was on the streets, living a negative lifestyle, and dealt with all the consequences. I never wanted to go to jail, lose my family, be alone, you know? Without any positive relationships, without anybody trusting me. I’m a go-getter, so I was determined to get my life together.
“When I was referred to Cleanslate, it felt like the perfect opportunity for me to build a good work history and to do something that I love to do. I grew up cleaning, cutting grass, making sure that my mom’s house was together. I love to beautify the neighborhood.
“I started out by meeting Cleanslate manager Sam Lovett, who asked me about what I wanted to do with my life. I told him that I wanted to change it. Sam is a beautiful person who helped me from the beginning all the way to the end, and he gave me the opportunity.
“Once I got my Cleanslate uniform, I had a reason to live.“
“On the job, I learned time management, professionalism, and communication. I was very coachable. I just wanted to do a good job and have a job. I hadn’t had a job for so long. At the time, I wouldn’t say that I was homeless, but I didn’t have my own home. With Cleanslate, I was able to save money to get my own apartment that Cara helped me furnish.
“Every day, I set out to do the best job I could do. I kept getting great evaluations every month. I was showing up, doing overtime, going beyond what they asked me to do. That got me Intern of the Month, and then they promoted me to lead intern.
“I was an active supervisor on a route the day I met Bradley Nardick, CEO of The Bazaar. He was walking down the street and he started asking me questions about the program, so I told him about it. Low and behold, we had a great conversation, and he asked me if I was a leader. I told him yes, and two weeks later he called me in for an interview.
“One of Bradley’s interview questions was about what will make me happy, and that’s the first time I’ve been asked about that on an interview. I told him ‘I need a career, a living wage job, and insurance benefits. I need a stable work environment, and I need room to grow. I want to learn and I’m going to be the best worker you’ll ever hire.’
“He hired me on the spot. I became the Assistant Facilities Manager and learned painting, plumbing, and electrical. I got my certification to be a forklift operator. Now I know how to work all the machinery. My supervisor became my friend, brother, and mentor. The people at The Bazaar are just like the people at Cleanslate: they care and want to see me grow and become all that I can become.
“My life has improved 100%. I have mentors, a circle people around me, and resources. I’m focused, setting and accomplishing goals like starting my own business.
“You know, I’m a totally different person and a better father.“
“My relationship with my daughter has gotten so much better. Before, I was always making promises I could never keep. But recently, I helped her buy her first car, and she’s getting ready to go away to college next year. We do a lot together, and she lives with me in my new apartment. She loves me and I love her to death.
“My advice for those at the beginning of their Cara and Cleanslate journey is to keep your gratitude high and your attitude low. Push forward until you get what you looking for.”
This article originally appeared on the Cara Collective Blog on 8/16/21