A funny thing happened on my way to growing up. For the majority of my life, I’ve been a fully supporting individual with stable, gainful employment and the ability to provide a home for my family. But about ten years ago, I developed a serious problem with alcohol and subsequently, over time, managed to lose everything I had. I stayed sober for periods of time, but eventually it became too much for me to handle, and I ended up making some very poor choices. As a result of this, I managed to end up in prison for a short time.

While in prison, I made a conscious decision that I would turn my circumstances into a positive experience and create a new path when I got home. When I did get home, I was able to find housing, and while there, I heard about an amazing woman and an amazing place … and I had to find out more.

I was nervous because I still felt such shame about where I’d been and what I’d done. Then I walked through the Catholic Worker House door and saw a woman I’d worked with in the past during the Rebuild Iowa program. She’d been an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer then and was a pretty awesome person. I just KNEW when I saw her that I was meant to be here, especially when I realized that SHE was the one I was here to see! What I had heard was spot on. The woman was Larissa Norris and the amazing place is the Catholic Worker House. I just knew that this was to be a part of my journey.

Larissa hugged me, and she told me things would work out for the best if I was willing to keep doing the next right thing and maintain a positive outlook on life.

I was able to begin volunteering at CWH approximately 20 hours a week while looking for a job – which took another 20 hours a week. I’d determined that I needed to commit a 40-hour week to service work and looking for employment.

Larissa had raved on about AmeriCorps VISTA and all the amazing things they do, and maybe that would be an opportunity I’d enjoy. As of today, that is my position at the Catholic Worker House. I volunteer 40 hours a week helping perform all daily tasks, helping clients and the public with resources, and also running the Career Assistance Center. I am so thankful to share my journey here at the Catholic Worker House.