Today marks one year since Ready to Work welcomed its first clients into its shelter. Since that day when our initial cohort settled into its bunks, we have seen the program grow and have witnessed individuals with no homes and little hope transform their lives with purpose and promise.
It began with only 10 people — men referred from shelters, from jail, from the streets, from shelters. One-hundred-thirty-three men have received shelter from Ready to Work in the past year, and now we shelter more than 40 at a time in 45 beds.
Every person who has passed through our doors has the same opportunity: access to case managers and supportive staff members, paid work from in-house social enterprise and contracts with public and private agencies, transportation and travel assistance, and more. Ultimately, they have the chance to change their own lives.
Several have. Theodore Stamatelos went from a history of prison and hopping from place to place to a stable home and a truck-driving career. Brock Davidson has continued to overcome a past drug addiction and homelessness to secure his own car and a career as a glazier. Michael Hernandez finally found a program that worked for him, landing a job with Downtown Stockton Alliance and reuniting with his family. And there are many more successes, men who have found employment and have a brighter future because they entered Ready to Work.
We’ve learned plenty of lessons since July 2018. Perhaps the biggest is that while not everyone who enters Ready to Work will use the program to its full potential, our program offers a true path to independence and self-sufficiency.
I am grateful to the dedicated staff who make these successes happen, and our donors, partners, and founding sponsors. It is because of that team that our clients can find a new future.
~ Jon Mendelson, executive director