A different HALO client returns for a visit after he
finished his GED.
It is an exciting day for the employees of HALO when we see longtime residents move out on their own, ready to be self-sufficient. Something that is even more exciting is when those clients not only stay self-sufficient, but then come back because they would like to do a little giving back of their own. The other day Richard (his name has been changed here) stopped in to HALO for this very purpose.
Richard originally came to HALO with drug addiction issues, as well as a small degree of mental illness due to some past brain trauma. He spent three different instances in HALO. According to Richard, all of these came about because he had nowhere else to go at the time, and some poor choices had led him out of his previous living situation. However, today he has been clean and sober for 8 years, has a steady job and a place to live, and he is wanting to give back to his community in any way that he knows how.
Richard showed back up at HALO one day, not because he needed services, but because he wanted to encourage and talk with some of the people that were in the very situation he had found himself in the past. Richard sat down and talked with Andy Koetz about some of the things that run through his mind when considering issues of homelessness and success.
Richard asked the question, “Am I a failure because I needed to humble myself in order to come to a homeless shelter? Just because I committed a crime, made a mistake, or ended up in a situation of homelessness, doesn’t mean that these things define who I am.”
Richard was thankful for HALO and wanted to express how important HALO’s programs are for the people staying here. “These guys and women are able to deal with their issues and get back out there working, paying taxes, contributing, and being independent.” He kept coming back to the idea that the people in this shelter could one day be the community leaders in Racine helping others, “We often forget, but someday the people here will be in the community giving back. Giving to HALO is an investment. Just because it doesn’t benefit you right now, doesn’t mean that it isn’t helping a lot of people in HALO. And it may come back to help you someday too.”
Richard talked about how amazing it is if what people give to HALO could help even one person, giving them opportunities to be off drugs, clean and sober. He mentioned, “I learned one time that entrepreneurs in business often have to fail 13 times before they succeed. Shouldn’t we apply principles like that to people having to relearn their coping skills and recover from addictions?”
Richard mentioned the many people that worked hard to make sure that he knew they cared for him and didn’t want him to fail, including his case manager Floyd and a Racine Sheriff who began investing in him. He credits his success to the ways they pushed him.