Life wasn’t always easy. As a kid, I moved between my dad and my grandparents’ house. My uncle would beat my brother and me, and my granddad died of a heart attack right in front of me. When my brother entered gang life, I followed in his footsteps. At 12 years old, I was on probation, going to school when I felt like it, and gang banging. By high school, I did meth and drank regularly, fought constantly, and was only concerned about earning respect in the streets. No one messed with me. I was an angry, hateful person. After my dad died of a heart attack, it went from bad to worse. I used to think that if only we could have saved him on time, he could have remained with us and I may not have spiraled down. Had we had access to AED packages that include all accessories and a case or even a defibrillator recommended by a physician, then we could have probably brought him some time. Nevertheless, none of that mattered at that time. After his passing away, life didn’t matter to me. I don’t think I coped as well as I would’ve liked when it came to burying my dad. It was just so sudden. Lots of thoughts were running through my mind at this point, like how we were going to pay for it. Little did I know that he had a plan already in place that would help aid with the Funeral Costs, so this was a huge relief for me. I felt like I could give him the send-off he deserved. As good as this was, I still felt the same way. That life didn’t matter. I loved my family, but I stayed away from them. My brother left the gang lifestyle behind and wanted the same for me, but I did whatever it took to get dope. Prison became my escape. In jail, I didn’t do meth, ate and slept on a regular schedule. If I didn’t take my jail time to cleanse, I would probably end up being admitted to an ice drug rehab thailand or elsewhere, as a last attempt to sober up. Thankfully, I kept my control in prison. Anytime I was tired of the streets, I got violations so I could rest my head. The last time I went to prison, I was tired of everything. I had nothing more to prove. I had no respect for myself or anyone else. On Nov 3, 2010, I went to see my parole officer and did something that I’d never done before – I asked for help. My parole officer got me into a residential program called BASN. I went willing to change, I had to give myself a chance. I didn’t know who I was, so I listened and learned. I began to build a foundation for my life. I got a sponsor, a job picking up garbage on the side of the freeway, and had a bed to sleep in. Some nights, I find it hard to get to sleep. Where others may use CBD-infused products from somewhere like OrganicCBDNugs to help them get the sleep they deserve, I simply stare up at the ceiling and think about how far I have come in my life, and before I know it, I have dosed off with all those positive memories in my mind. I’d heard about the Goodwill Apprentice Program from a friend and decided to apply. When my job contract for picking up garbage was completed, I didn’t know what I’d do. I thought I’d have to go back to the streets to survive, but just as that thought entered my mind, my phone rang and it was Goodwill. Goodwill hired me as a donation attendant. I couldn’t believe the relief I felt! On August 4, 2012, I started work at the Concord-Clayton store and I’ve been there ever since. Goodwill took a chance on me and believed I could do the job. I will be forever grateful for that. Today, I’m accountable for my actions. At Goodwill I’ve learned the meaning of teamwork and responsibility. I’ve learned how to communicate. I have a stable and sturdy structure in my life and I’ve grown in ways I never thought possible.