I am a 67 yr. old male who has approximately 30 yrs. of incarceration, both as a juvenile and as an adult. I had a battle with drugs and alcohol for approximately 50 yrs.and because of that battle I also spent many years homeless and living on the streets. At times I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in a car. I have basically been thrown out of every school that I attended. In the summer of 2011 being recently released from prison, for the fifth time, I walked onto the SBCC campus. I was eligible for the Transitions Program, which is basically a re-entry program. In reality I was not going to stay, after all, I was older than most of the educators, I was disabled, and I how could I compete with some18 yr. old, who maybe never even had a parking ticket. I had to asked myself, " how was going to be able to relate with anyone on campus.
After a few days I was made aware of the resources that could possibly help me in this change of life that I was going to attempt. I was welcomed in the EOPS and I qualified for DSPS. I soon learned that I did not have to compete with anyone, but myself. Of course with my history choosing a major was fairly simple. I decided to stay with something I knew and chose my major as an Alcohol Drug Counselor. It did not take long for me to acquire another addiction and that was education. I worked as a Peer Advisor in EOPS and the following year I was a Teachers Assistant in the Transition Program, which was the first class I attended in the summer of 2011. When I was not in class I spent everyday In the EOPS or DSPS with the tutors and when I was not there I was at the campus library. For the first two yrs. I slept in my car and was at Starbucks at 4:30 am studying, patiently waiting for the campus to open.
When I walked on to campus I shouldered many negative name. I was called a drug addict, a drug dealer, a convict, and many other terms. I must admit to being all of them. I had heard people say stay away from that guy he is trouble and he is a bad character. I was able to shed those negative tittles and soon I was known as a college student.
Today I stand proud, because I am a graduate of the "Class of 2015" , and a member of the Honor Society. Although, I earned my Certificate as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor I am continuing my education to obtain an AA Degree. I have been able to buy a car that does not breakdown all the time and I have my own apartment. I have been able to be a positive part of society. I am know longer a registered drug offender, today I am a registered voter and at age 67 I voted for the first time in my life.
I know that I have done the work but without the recourses and the financial help that I have received I would not be where I am today. I walked on campus as a character and I was quite the character, but today I have character.