Stories Of Transition


Jon's Story

My childhood was unpredictable and scary. When I was eight, my mom was murdered outside a bar in southeast Portland, forcing my older brother and two sisters to care for me since my father wasn’t around. I skipped school, stole things, and started drinking and using drugs. In and out of jail, couch surfing, I left nothing but wreckage behind.

Like most homeless people in Old Town, my girlfriend Jennifer and I would use the Transition Projects Day Center to shower, do laundry, and just get indoors. I was not a model participant and sometimes lashed out in response to my situation. Transition Projects still welcomed me.

In October 2014, I made a decision to make a change. Once I completed an addiction recovery program, Transition Projects took a chance and hired me to work in one of their shelters. I then enrolled in the Mentor Program, which is designed for people like me who want to help others overcome the kind of challenges I faced.

After living in transitional housing for around 2 years, Jennifer and I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment in northeast Portland where we continue to reside with our little dog and Jennifer's teenage daughter. I am currently in my 4th position here at Transition Projects as the Peer Health Navigator Supervisor. My team works one-on-one with participants to get them connected to healthcare. My gratitude runs deep. I try to show that in my work and in my personal relationships. I am not the same person I once was, and I hope to always be a better person tomorrow than I am today.

Mentor Program Graduates

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