We’re not so different, you and I.
You have goals. I have goals. You have things that you’re passionate about. I have things that I’m passionate about. You have a story. I have a story. Although these things may vary between us, we all have the same basic needs: food, shelter, and happiness; Something Ken knows an awful lot about.
“I lived at Stepping Stone from June of 2017 through February of the following year.” Stepping Stone is a homeless shelter working to end homelessness. “I had been couch surfing for a while, and I was gradually losing all my friends as they got tired of having me around.” Stepping Stone works one-on-one with each resident to create a unique plan to help them shift from homelessness to self-sufficiency. “They helped me build the healthiest and most stable time in my life, so far.”
Those were things that Ken shared with us nearly two years ago. At that time, he was six months sober. He had completed the program, got set up with a job, and was able to lease an apartment on his own.
“Typically, when a person leaves Stepping Stone, we have no connection with them” says Julie Jeppson, Executive Director at Stepping Stone. “There are very many former residents who want nothing to do with us. Not that they necessarily had a bad experience here, but, for many, this was one of the lowest points in their life and they don't want to be reminded of that.”
Although, some residents do continue to touch base with their case manager to let them know what they are up to. Ken doesn’t mind sharing what he’s up to. In fact, he’s grateful for the opportunity. “I am very joyful and proud every time I can pay forward the help that I’ve received and still receive to this day.”
So, where is Ken today? Today, Ken is staying very busy with work. “I've been promoted to shift lead in a regional distribution center for a Fortune 500 company. I am grateful to be in a position where I can help on-board new employees. I know starting a new job is a challenging time in anyone’s life. I feel like being there and caring about their success pays forward the kindness Stepping Stone showed me.”
When he’s not working, Ken enjoys going to the gym and gardening. Both are habits that he began while at Stepping Stone. What’s even greater, is that he’s reconnected with family. “My brother and I meet at the gym once a week. Then, we go visit our parents for dinner. My father even fixed up a car for me, for old times' sake. I owe a lot to Stepping Stone. The help and advice that I got from both the staff, and some of my fellow residents, has laid the cornerstones of a very blessed life.”
We wish you the very best. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and for being a role model for others.