How long was your stay at the Open Hearth?
How long in recovery or out of incarceration?
I have been out of incarceration going on 6 years.
What can you tell us about your experience at the Open Hearth?
During my stay at the Open Hearth, I learned how to transition back into society after being incarcerated for 18 years. I was taught a good work ethic and how to be responsible through work therapy and my role as President of House Council.
What life lessons did you learn through the staff / your experience at the Open Hearth?
I learned how to be patient with others. When dealing with a lot of different people on a daily basis I learned to handle situations differently when they come up. I also learned to utilize everyone at The Open Hearth. I talked to any and everyone while I stayed at the Hearth. It was a great way to get different viewpoints and opinions.
Did the Open Hearth change your thinking? How?
After being incarcerated for 18 years, the Hearth helped to change the way I perceived things in life. I learned that there was a better way to live my life.
Share the value of your experience as you’ve continued your journey.
I value my experience at The Open Hearth because it has taught me many different skills, especially when dealing with others. The skills that I’ve learned are constantly being used every day.
What advice do you have for current clients?
My advice would be to not be concerned with what others think. Some of these guys might want to do the right thing, but are afraid to because they feel like others may look at them differently. Some of these guys are afraid of losing that “street credit” if they started living life the right way. If they just focused on what’s needed to be done to change their life in a positive way and not worry about others, they can be very successful.
What is the one thing you want people (insiders and outsiders) to know about the Open Hearth?
People should know that The Open Hearth is a great place to be. There are many opportunities for change. For Example, the Hearth is the only place that I know of, that gives past clients who were in excellent standing a chance to apply for positions. There are so many opportunities to advance.
Describe the Open Hearth in one word.
What are you doing now?
I am currently the Wood Yard driver and Wood Yard work therapy coordinator.