Stories Of Transition


Charles's Story

I grew up in Las Vegas, and my mom passed away when I was 11. Both my parents instilled in me the desire to treat everyone right and do the right thing. My father and I moved to Portland 30 years ago, with the hope of finding my long-lost sister. And we did!

A while later, I got into some trouble and spent 17 years in prison. I did the time, but the time didn’t do me. I took college courses and did clerical work. I had an interest in massage, facials, and cutting hair, and while in prison I received my cosmetology license.

I was homeless for 18 months after leaving prison. During that time I was in and out of Burnside Projects (now Transition Projects), and one day, a man named Larry Turner asked me if I’d like to join a men’s group. That group helped me reintegrate into society. He asked what skills I had, and when I told him I was a cosmetologist, he said Transition Projects needed a barber!

I got sober and got housing, and in 2009 I began cutting hair at Transition Projects. In the past four years alone, I’ve cut hair for over 2,200 participants! When I cut people’s hair in the Resource Center, I model a positive attitude and show them the love and kindness I received. I have also completed the Mentor Program and received a Peer Support Specialist certificate. Being a mentor has made me feel like an inspiration. All of the help Transition Projects gave me empowered and inspired me to give back.

Mentor Program Graduates

Donate Today!

Ready To Contribute To The Solution? Show Your Support.

Newsletter Signup