The Sound of Optimism

It is odd to “interview” someone via phone, though, during this shelter-in-place time, it seems to be the way we have to do things. In talking with Virginia C., the optimism and hope were palpable in her voice! She was so proud of herself and hopeful for the future, and I could sense her happiness immediately.

 Diagnosed with Hepatitis C, Virginia was seriously ill and unable to work effectively at her job as a property manager, a position she had held successfully for over 10 years. She was laid off from work, and the result was the loss of her home. Severely depressed and drinking heavily, Virginia rented a room near her son while trying to apply for social security benefits. 

It was at this time, that her daughter intervened — her mom needed to get help with her drinking and her depression. The result was Virginia checking into Gateway Foundation Center. After two months, she was back on her feet receiving social security payments and living alcohol-free. Rather than move back in with her daughter, Virginia knew she needed to be independent and start her life back on her own terms, so she started the process of applying to enter Saint John’s Program for Real Change.

“I just love Saint John’s… it has changed my life so much!” Virginia says she felt completely broken and lost with no hope for the future — until she entered through the red doors of Saint John’s. Today, after just 10 months with us, she has completed her high school diploma as well as the college-level program at Asher College for her certificate in Medical Office Administration. She recently moved into her own apartment and is job-hunting so that she can be in the next graduation class of Saint John’s Employment Training Program. 

Her one year sobriety anniversary was April 20th, and she is excited for the future and for continuing her path to a healthy life. Virginia is looking forward to spending time now with her two grandchildren, and another on the way. She already misses her friends and community at Saint John’s but will stay in touch.

Virginia tells me, “I am not one to exaggerate, but there are no doubts about the way Saint John’s has helped me change my life. My testimony is true.” And, you know, I could hear it in her voice.

 

By Ellen Gemma
Guest Blogger and Volunteer
Former Asst. Principal, Jesuit High School
Former Principal, St. John the Evangelist School 

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