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Sharon, PA

Building Hope

thI’m a 57-year-old single guy with a really rough past. I’ve gone through childhood sexual abuse, a motor vehicle “assault” aimed at ending my life, 2 strokes, and a myriad of other problems. Regardless of all this, I’ve made the choice to use my past to help others.

In 2015, I had been in an extremely abusive relationship... I had all my money taken by my partner, had my food & medications rationed, and was told many times daily that I was garbage. I was afraid to leave; you see, after I received my master’s degree, I was called upon to evaluate & testify about a young man’s suitability to proceed through the court system. After my testimony, he said “you haven’t heard the last of me.” Three weeks later, his mother’s boyfriend drove his truck through my house, trapping me underneath & causing a myriad of traumatic injuries, the effects of which have worsened with time, leaving me wheelchair bound & in need of caregivers. My partner was not willing to help, so my home care physical therapist made it her project to get me out of that situation. Her help in finding housing & donations of furniture & household necessities led to my part in forming the “Building of Hope”, a helping ministry that provides a hand-up to those going through life’s trials in order to show them that hope is everywhere and is life-affirming. The day before I got out of my bad situation, I had already said goodbye to my cats and had a gun - prepared to end my life.

Fast forward to now, and I’m in a much better place emotionally and I am able to help others in situations that they feel are hopeless by helping them find housing, access to medical care & mental health counseling, and in getting the things they need to live life with the dignity every person deserves.

My life has not been easy. I am in therapy and have my set of problems, but I am never too self-involved to ignore someone who needs help...whether it’s a smile, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on or a hand up from the pits. I have few financial resources, but money is not always as important as a display of compassion.

I have 2 cats, one of which I’ve raised since she was a 2-day-old kitten. I use my cats to show people that trust is important and that love, even when it’s from a companion animal, is an emotion we must embrace. I am honest and tell people that often there is a lot of darkness before the light, and you may face hate before you find love, but that one’s life is not defined by a few poor choices or some wrong turns. I encourage others not to look back, but to look forward, because that is the direction we are going. We may not be reaching our destination as quickly as we’d like, but there is life worth living on the opposite end of the broken road.

I want people to know we are all a work in progress, and we are responsible for reaching as far as we can. Asking for help along the way is an act of courage, not evidence of failure.

Kindness has the power to create radical change.

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