On an otherwise unremarkable September day, Jason was walking down the street, the same street where he typically slept. He was drunk again, with no particular destination or purpose, when a car knocked him into a spin. Then he was hit again, by another car coming from the opposite direction. That was it. “I’m done,” he thought, as he lay battered on the road.
Life hadn’t always been so bleak, but it hadn’t really ever been easy either. The oldest of four siblings, with quick wit but a restless streak, Jason bounced around several schools before dropping out in the 11th grade. He was a hard worker and had learned the professional painting trade from his father, who’d learned it from his father. Even without his diploma, he was able to make a decent living through determination and his dad’s contacts.
But the restlessness was always there, along with a penchant for drinking. “I wanted to venture out and do other things.” So he walked away, from the work, from the brotherhood of painters, and into a series of bad turns. Then, when his mom died suddenly in a car accident, he tried to take care of his younger siblings. But, without his own stable foundation, it all became too much.
Fast forward to that September day, the day he finally broke down and realized he needed help. He was bruised and shaken, but – mercifully – had survived with no permanent injuries. With a promise that he’d quit drinking and smoking, Jason’s aunt took him in and took him to church. Once he was clean and sober, he was ready to take the next step, and he found Martha’s, where he was offered the stability and structure to paint a better future for himself.
“Here at Martha’s, I felt safe. I have a place to do my laundry, to take a shower, and food to eat and a roof over my head – a place where I know the few things I have are safe. I could step back, look at my strengths and my faults, and figure out how to be my best self.”
He’s been working hard to get his life back on track. He’s completed computer courses, as well as MVK’s Healthy Relationships program. He helps out too, painting and doing odd jobs around the facility. He’s working, and he’s got a bank account, clothing, painting tools, and even business cards.
“I understand what it’s like to be in an emergency situation, going nowhere. Stuck. Nowhere. I understand what it’s like to have nothing. I always took things for granted. I didn’t care if I drank and ended up in jail. But now I don’t take anything for granted. I started working again. And through the power of the paintbrush and roller, I found myself. I grew up and became a man.”
“Nobody has a goal of staying here, and this isn’t where I want to stay either. I want to be a functioning member of society. But when I leave here, Martha’s will have been one of the most important parts of my life. I want to be able to come back and show everyone how I succeeded, and I want to help give back.”
Because of generous donors, the team at Martha’s is able to help Jason get back out into the world and do all of the things we ask of each other: work hard, take care of his family and pay his taxes. He’s got work to do, but he isn’t doing it alone, because of good people like you, who know that we’re all better off when we’re all better off.