“They had faith in me, they uplifted me and provided me with the tools and the structure I needed.”
Fist fights, petty theft, vandalism, loitering, three DUIs, sleeping in the park and abandoned crack houses, smoking dope, up for days at a time and addicted to meth. Add to that an abusive girlfriend who beat her repeatedly, giving her two black eyes and a broken leg. Irais was miserable, in and out of jail 10 times before she heard about Saint John’s through a friend.
“Saint John’s saved my life,” says Irais. “They had faith in me, they uplifted me and provided me with the tools and the structure I needed to summon the courage to change my life.”
Her work at Plates gave her a passion for working in the restaurant industry, starting with Broderick’s Roadhouse, then as a prep cook at the Franchise Tax Board, then as a line cook at Capital City Catering, and now having gone full circle, back on staff at Plates Cafe and Catering serving as a mentor to ladies currently going through the Employment Training Program at Saint John’s. In fact, 18% of Saint John’s direct service staff is made up of former clients — who better to mentor our clients than those who have walked in their shoes?
Irais is now living with her two children Yaliss (20) and Mikey (13), her fiancé and her fiance’s daughter, in a four-bedroom house that she’s about the buy, and thanks her lucky stars, each and every day.
By Sue Cawdrey
Grants and Communications Manager
Saint John’s Program for Real Change