Two years ago Kennie Brown’s father passed away, and then he lost his job. He was staying with his cousin, but after Kennie started spiraling downwards his cousin kicked him out. He became homeless.
“He saw me drinking all the time, doing drugs, and he wasn’t having it. He kicked me out when he saw I wasn’t serious about getting my life together.”
It was a year of staying in and out of the 801 East homeless shelter before Kennie heard about Thrive DC. A friend of his at the shelter told him about the Real Opportunity program, how Thrive DC would pay a small stipend while they trained you to be a chef.
At first Kennie was only interested in the money part, but once he got in the program he started to see the kind of opportunity it was.
“Seeing how serious everyone else was made me serious. At first I wanted to be a part of the program for the money, but after I saw how valuable the experience could be I wanted the program for myself.”
Kennie was just one of three Real Opp trainees to make it through a grueling six month program. But it paid off. He now has a full-time job at Jamba Juice, has a steady place to stay with his brother and a friend, is living clean, and is less than two months away from having enough saved up to move into a place of his own and being financially sustainable.
“The more serious I got, the more people wanted to help me. My advice to people who want to join the Real Opp program is to take everything seriously. This program can make or break you, but if you can do it the right way, you can be a success story.”