He was overwhelmed and close to giving up — but that was then
At the beginning of every Circle at Project Legacy there is a "check-in,” time for each person to share what is on their mind and heart. For the past two weeks, I’ve come back to the words of one young man, words that made me remember where he was when he started his journey with Project Legacy, and where he is today.
“My name is _________, and I’ve been coming here for almost exactly a year. Yeah, it will be exactly a year in November and I’d say I’m doing pretty good now.”
There was quiet in the room as we all remembered the day he first came to circle.
I had been getting dinner ready when someone said to me, “Hey Karen, there’s someone standing out by the dumpsters.” It was one of those cold, raw November nights — a light drizzle of rain, windy, and dark.
I went out and saw a young man standing between the dumpsters, jacket pulled up against the weather, hood obscuring his face, the glow of his cigarette the only light I could see. It was the man who had called me a few days earlier — someone had told him we might be able to help him. He had been feeling overwhelmed and close to giving up.
On probation, spending time with the wrong friends, having trouble at home, struggling with substance abuse, driver’s license revoked — no money, no plan, no hope.
But that was then.
Now, one year later, he has finished treatment for substance abuse and has been sober for 11 months. He got his license back. He’s held the same job for 10 months. After carefully developing a plan for the future, he re-enrolled in college this August. Being mindful of his health, he quit smoking. He attends Circle every Thursday night. Caring not only about himself, he checks-in with his childhood friend who struggles with schizophrenia, reminding him of Circle, going to his apartment and knocking on the door, sitting next to him at Circle, encouraging and calming him.
Now, He is the embodiment of everything we cherish at Project Legacy. He is why we exist.
He will talk about the safety he feels here, the security of knowing there is a safety net that wasn’t present in his life before.
Long-term, intensive and compassionate care. No religion being pushed, no judgement, just love, kindness, tenderness and unconditional support. Because life is hard and we all need people that have our backs no matter what.
And that is who Project Legacy is. This is why we exist.