Here at Riverside House, we often receive letters from our current and former clients who have found success during and after leaving our program. We love to share those stories on our blog so that we can all celebrate in the successes of those who are transitioning back into the community.
Here is a letter we received recently from one of our clients who will complete her transition in the next few months.
Monday, October 16, 2017
Dear Riverside House,
My name is Linda Sanchez*, and I would like to express my gratitude for a few of my experiences at Riverside House. My journey began here on January 4, 2017. I was originally supposed to arrive in July 2017, but God had some different plans for me. I was told in October that I would be leaving Coleman, FL to spend 11 and a half months in a halfway house because I was categorized as homeless. My family had moved out of my district where I was to be released.
On January 4, I came down on a Greyhound bus, took a taxi, and arrived at Riverside House. My initial feeling of the unknown was concerning, but I had a goal to get a job, find a place to live, and eventually begin my life again. I was given orientation and used each resource that Riverside provided me with as a resident. The computers acted as a great resource for searching for jobs and preparing each employment pass needed.
I went on as many interviews as Riverside allowed me to go to. Each interview came with great input from potential employers. Many would hire individuals that didn’t have a background like mine, but I appreciated each opportunity that was given to me to get out into the community. The employment department gave me encouragement and support. They attended to my needs and also gave me leads for jobs. The leadership in the department has a lot to deal with, but they always had a moment to listen to my needs. They guided me when they had input on policies, and led me to contacts that would look for people with my background.
The employment department at Riverside House has members that are a strong backbone for the organization as a whole. Their humbleness and responsible work ethic leads to a wonderful work- flow in assisting each other and us who need the help. They always have a moment to listen and help.
On one particular occasion, Riverside’s Pastor helped me also find a job with Goodwill. The Pastor’s spirit of helping and guidance is something I will always be grateful for as well.
One of the women in the religious department led our women’s class, and always let us know that as women we could come to her for help. These individuals also allowed the church to donate clothes to me without hesitation.
My case manager is an individual who has been there for me since day one. She has been a strong source of encouragement for me. From the moment I sat in her office, she has always listened to my goals, thoughts, positive moments, and challenging times, and has pushed me gently through all of those moments. When I have a special need, she has gone to upper administration on my behalf and has been a true advocate for me when needed. For so many of these reasons, I will always be grateful for her as well.
Since I am one of the long-term clients at Riverside House, the staff has really gotten to know me, including understanding my unique habits such as the need to rest in the morning due to my late working hours. They have always tried to accommodate me as best as they can.
During the hurricane, one staff member sacrificed time away from his family at 4 AM to make sure our generators for the building were working. He and I learned a lot together over those weeks without electricity, and he was so open to hearing input from the clients.
This same staff member also led a Global Summit Conference here at Riverside. Because he allowed the clients to attend, I was able to switch days off of my work to go. I can honestly tell you that those were some of the most impactful moments for me here. This conference was helpful in piecing together the puzzle of my goals and future plans through the inspirational speeches and testimonials of extraordinary individuals who spoke to us.
For me, there have been so many more moments at Riverside that I can write about, but I can definitely acknowledge the following: with all the positive and difficult challenges, Riverside has been a place of building my life again. It has provided a roof over my head, and also helped me regain the confidence I needed in myself. My relationships in the community and work force have also grown immensely. In my present job, I am number one on the sales floor where I help people with needs that stem from personal finances to additional options they never would have even thought they had, from hurricane victims to fire disaster victims.
My life has come full circle in so many ways. I recommend this transition to a halfway house to everyone who needs the support. My journey has been one of the longest here, but I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. Every goal I set out to achieve, I have accomplished through God, perseverance, and help from Riverside staff. I am now heading into my last two months here, and only pray that I can continue to use this time wisely. It would be a great asset to Riverside House to have more computers, work and schooling programs, internships, volunteering opportunities, summit conferences, and church programs to assist clients as they rebuild their lives again.
For everything I have been given, I appreciate it immensely. I am eager to complete this program and begin anew.
God Bless You,
*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the client.