For two years Tom came to Thrive DC everyday for a hot meal, a shower, and to do laundry. He was willing to help in any way he could, often helping offload a large delivery or cleaning up after the meal program. If you met this young man in any other setting, you would be surprised to learn that he lived outside and came to a shelter setting everyday to meet his daily needs. Tom was young, smart, charismatic, and articulate, but Tom was also homeless and an alcoholic; his addiction was leading his life and threatening to derail his future.

Everyday, we would remind Tom of his potential, of his future, of his worth. One day he came in and told me he was tired of living outside. He knew he was supposed to do more with his life and he was finally ready to do so. He enrolled in our employment readiness program, we searched for housing, and he joined the substance use and recovery program. After a few months, he got a job.

But there were still setbacks. He went through several jobs because every time he got paid, he would relapse. He kept coming to Thrive and we kept supporting and encouraging him to try again. He stayed on his path, he fell, and he got back up many times, and then he succeeded! He got a job and kept it. He got more hours at his job, he got a promotion, and finally got his own place!

Flash forward two years and Tom is now a manager with his own home and is sober, successful, and making plans for his future. I am so proud of him, but I am not surprised. At Thrive, we have seen so many people take this long circuitous journey back to self-sufficiency, but with support, encouragement, and tenacity, people can change there lives. At Thrive, we see it happen all the time.