I started working in the apprenticeship program in October of 2003. At the time I was still in a drug rehabilitation program having come from jail. When I began working here I was a felon and recovering drug addict with no home, no car and few job skills. During the time I have spent working here, I have gained the skills and attitude I need to succeed in the world. I now have a bank account, a car and a place to live. I received training in office clerical work, customer service, computer skills and management during my time here. Most of all I am grateful for the self respect and sense of accomplishment this place has given me.
Now I am working as a Case Manager for a drug treatment center helping others like myself find a new way to live. I could not have succeeded in achieving this goal without the help this program gave me as I worked and went to school.Richard
My name is Richard. Before I started working here, I was working with my father in construction. When I first got released from prison, I tried looking for jobs. It was real hard for me; nobody would hire me because of my background and still being on parole. I was tired of working in construction. When I applied for the apprenticeship program, I got a chance to prove what I'm capable of doing. I have worked here for over a year, and built the self-esteem and will to complete my parole, get my license and buy my first vehicle.
Working in this program, I have been learning how to use a computer. I have learned management skills and also to control my anger. I have been given the chance to go to GED classes on the weekend. I have built the confidence to look for other jobs without worrying about my old background.
Richard has now obtained regular employment in the customer service field and received his GED certificate.Rhonda
My name is Rhonda and I have struggled with drug addiction for many years. My life had become totally unmanageable. I had lost contact with my family, and could no longer hold a job. My life consisted of drug use on a daily basis. I was totally miserable feeling like my life would never amount to anything. There was no hope for a bright future for me. Then I started getting arrested to top off the total mess. I started going to jail on a regular basis I really thought things would never change for me.
In June 2001 I was sentenced to 16 months in prison where I served one year. While I was in prison I was put in a drug program. One of the benefits of the program in prison was going into a residential treatment center when I paroled. On April 9, 2003, I paroled to a treatment center in North Hollywood. That was the beginning of my life totally changing in ways I thought mine never could. As time went by in that treatment center, I started feeling better about myself due to going to groups meetings etc. After being in that treatment center for three months it was time to look for work.
Although I was feeling so much better about myself, better then I'd ever felt in my whole life, looking for work was a very scary thing. I went out every day looking for work with no luck. This was becoming very discouraging for me. I felt like I would never get a job. There are not a lot of employers out there who want to give drug addicts or parolees a chance. After quite some time of looking for work my case worker at that treatment center I went through, told me about this program. I started the Apprenticeship Program August 8, 2003. I totally believe in this Apprenticeship Program and what it can do for people who are trying to change their lives. Since I've been here I've learned so much. I've been given the tools and skills to leave here and get a decent job.
Currently this is what's going on in my life. I now have almost three years clean and sober. I manage a sober living house with twelve women. I've been discharged off parole, my family is back in my life and I have a driver's license and a car with insurance too. Some of these might not sound like such a big deal but to someone who was wasting their life away on drugs for years these things are huge. Also I have confidence and feel so much better about myself. I'm truly grateful to that treatment center, and for this Apprenticeship Program. My life has totally turned around, and is better then I ever could have imagined. Also, this Apprenticeship Program is currently helping me get my GED. I really can't say enough about this program and what it's done for me.
Rhonda has completed her apprenticeship program and has been hired on as a mentor and Executive Assistant. She continues to manage a women's sober living.Naomi
My name is Naomi Medina and I am a part of the apprenticeship program. Today I am the administrative assistant; however, I did not start out this way. Prior to working here I could not fax or e-mail, because I did not know how. Today I work with Excel to do most of my work and I also work with QuickBooks Accounting software. It is a powerful tool I have learned to use since working here. I have also learned how to do payroll for the company. I am very proud to have obtained such useful skills during my apprenticeship.
Before working here I had just finished a six month drug treatment program. Basically, I was hopeless as to what the future held for me. I had nothing but a bag full of clothes and a small amount of hope to stay clean and sober. I was living in a home called sober living, with no aim or direction until I started working here. I began to have goals and a sense of achievement and self-esteem.
Today I am proud to have over two years clean and sober. I have moved out of sober living and into my own apartment. I got my driver's license and a car since working here as well. Also, now I am a part time student at Pierce College. I am working on an Addiction Studies degree. I must say that this job has been one of the best opportunities of my life. I cannot imagine where I would be, if not for this program.
Naomi has completed her apprenticeship program and is currently employed in the field of drug rehabilitation.