“Paul’s Place most definitely did save me.”

September 16th, 2016

Five years ago, at 21 years old, Emanuel was at the start of his career in a coroner’s office, taking classes at Morgan State University, and the proud father of a beautiful little girl. He had big dreams for his own future and his daughter’s. Then, one night, everything changed suddenly. With a few gun shots, Emanuel’s baby girl and her mother were murdered.

The immense pain and anger he felt controlled him like no emotions had before. He describes himself then as “like a dog that wasn’t people friendly.” He lost his job and became homeless, living with friends or family until his anger erupted and he needed to move on – and living on the streets in between. With no home and very little support, Emanuel was led down a dangerous path that eventually ended with him in jail.

When he was released last fall, he was ordered by the court to participate in anger management. That turned out to be the first step in his recovery, and when he began showing signs of progress, his sister brought him to Paul’s Place to volunteer. Last October, Emanuel enrolled in the Ambassador Volunteer program, was matched with a current Ambassador to be his mentor, and began one-on-one coaching with a trained social worker.

Emanuel set four goals when he started volunteering as an Ambassador – to learn how to be around people, to find his own apartment, to go back to school for mortuary science, and to restart his career in the coroner’s office – and he is making good progress. The daily interaction with guests, volunteers, and staff as well as the regular meetings with his coach are helping him learn to cope with stress and begin to trust other people again. He worked with our STABLE Home Case Manager to find housing and moved into his new apartment in July. Now, he is working with our Goodwill Employment Specialist to update his resume and apply for part-time jobs.

Emanuel has come such a long way! One year after he walked through our doors, he is a different person. He still feels a void left by his daughter and her mother and is trying to find something to fill it, and he is still working on controlling his anger, but he is successfully working toward personal and professional goals – and he has hope.

He credits his time at Paul’s Place with helping him grow up and changing his perspective on life, and says “Paul’s Place most definitely did save me. Here I have a nice little group of people that I look forward to seeing when I come in here every day. I have hope. I got a whole lot of hope now, seeing as though I’ve found people that actually care. I’m not by myself anymore. As long as I stay around Paul’s Place, I am going to make it.”

Every day, more than 400 individuals turn to Paul’s Place for immediate relief and the resources and support to find long-term solutions. At Paul’s Place, they find help overcoming multiple barriers to success, including limited employment opportunities, inadequate skills or education, a criminal record, transportation, child care, stable housing, addiction, crime, and violence. Last year alone, 550 individuals – including Emanuel – participated in one-on-one coaching, and 91% of them showed measured improvements in self-sufficiency.

You can provide the support adults like Emanuel need achieve their goals and work toward greater self-reliance; please give generously.