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Dalton liked to cook. That’s why he was so excited to hear about culinary training programs that could help him get back on his feet.

After leaving incarceration three years ago, Dalton struggled with homelessness and finding a job. He tried everything but kept running into a wall. What kept him going, however, was six words:

“Change I must, or die I will.”

“I just had to hold it together,” he said. “Lots of prayer.”

Dalton had heard about two programs he could try: one at Central Union Mission and the other at Thrive DC. He didn’t know which one he wanted to do, but he decided that he would choose based on how the food was at each place.

He went to Central Union Mission and thought their food was OK. But when he came to Thrive DC he thought: “Wow. They were working hard.”

Dalton was blown away by how full Thrive DC was all the time and how much people kept coming back for the food. He knew he wanted to go where people took pride in the work they were doing.

“I haven’t had people like Chef Terrence in my life. I made a good, conscious decision to pursue my career here and I’m so thankful of that.”

Thrive DC’s Real Opportunity Training Program is six months long and hard work, but Dalton was glad to be working. It helped keep him busy, helped him not to focus on his past incarceration or not having a home of his own to go back to.

“I ended up here as a result of committing to change. I really wanted to learn what these people had to offer, and I think I accomplished that.”

After six months, Dalton finally graduated. He took with him a great reference from his externship at Amsterdam Falafel, and is currently looking forward to passing his SafeServ certification and getting his Culinary Arts degree from Stratford University.

“I’m not quite finished yet. This is my new start!”

A Job Training Program That Works

Want more information on Thrive DC's Real Opportunity Training Program? Click the link to learn more about our comprehensive program supporting people out of homelessness.

More Stories of Hope

Enjoyed reading about Dalton's success? You might also like Jeffrey's and Antoinette's story.

Jeffrey was homeless and needed help when he heard about Thrive DC. He needed a place that would enhance his skill set and give him a real chance at steady employment - something that would not just to sustain him but also help him reach his ambitions to be a manager.

He needed a place that would take the time to invest in him. There were lots of programs that were 6 – 8 weeks long, but it seemed like as soon as you started you were walking out the door.

That’s when Jeffrey heard about Thrive DC.

He was at Bread for the City when they gave him a referral to our Real Opportunity Training Program. At first he was unsure; while he wanted a better training program, Thrive DC’s was six months long and much more dense and challenging.

Ultimately though, the program was everything he was looking for:

“When I first came to Thrive DC, I was uncertain because I didn’t know a lot about the program. Now, Thrive DC is a place I would recommend. All the different programs Thrive DC has to enhance lifestyles are great and the staff is really professional. This has been an intense and gratifying program.”

Jeffrey is currently finishing his externship at Open City in Woodley Park and is under consideration for employment there. But after his time in the Real Opp program, Jeffrey also has a new dream.

“I want to return the favor for what Thrive DC has done for me. I’m working on getting my business license so that I can teach others about sanitation, knife work, and all of the skills you need when working in this industry. I want to be a food service consultant and train people in the private sector.”

When asked what he had learned through the Real Opp program, Jeffrey had just one thing to say:

“I have learned that you can always get what you want through hard work. You’re going to have challenges, but you have to work through them.”

“It was worth it.”

A Job Training Program That Works

Want more information on Thrive DC's Real Opportunity Training Program? Click the link to learn more about our comprehensive program supporting people out of homelessness.

More Stories of Hope

If you like this story, you might also enjoy reading about Dalton and Antionette.

We want to give BIG congratulations to two of our Real Opportunity Training Program (Real Opp) clients. Brian and Anthony have done an amazing job committing and succeeding in our two month course!.

Brian is now working full-time by Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. About the Real Opp program, he says "With the right attitude you can accomplish anything you want."

At Kramerbooks, he has been a model employee always willing to help a coworker out. We're so proud of you, congratulations Brian!.

Anthony has thrived in the Real Opp program. Despite personal challenges, and a history of homelessness and incarceration, he has overcome everything to find a full-time position at The Diner in Adams Morgan.

He is hard working and dedicated, refusing to eat until after his shift is over. The first day he showed up for work, he told his manager "You're going to get exactly what you see today...on time, hard working, committed." Congratulations Anthony!

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(202) 737-9311

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