After serving 24 years in prison, Brian was released in 2019 at the age of 60. He went into a transitional home at HealthRight 360, and during his time there he was able to get his California Driver’s license and his social security card. He went to work through a program called Five Keys where he was employed doing manual labor for CalTrans. For a while, life was going well for Brian, then COVID hit and everything changed.
After 6 months at the transitional home, Brian moved into a sober living home, Cavanaugh House. The restrictions there made life difficult and it seemed impossible to enjoy the freedom he so longed for but he continued to push forward. He made a decision to focus on training for a career path by training in solar power installation and welding certification classes. Brian was able to find free programs like this with the help of CRCD, GRID Alternatives, and Friends Outside.
When Brian asked how CRCD contributed to his success. He credited the resources and referrals provided by the Financial Opportunity Center at CRCD, the partnerships with GRID Alternatives, and Friends Outside for his success. He stated, “the resources you provide are wonderful and life-changing.” His success has been supported by the gifting of tools and boots needed for the job.
When Brian first spoke with us, he had received an offer of employment from Tesla pending his background. He wanted to work for a company that would give him stability with income and medical benefits but he was understandably anxious and felt this was too good to be true. He claimed that “if it does not work out, then God will present something else.” He also said that “he will remain clean and take comfort in the fact that groups like CRCD have his back.
Brian told us that “being gone for so long, he has lost almost all of his family and it feels very lonely. But there is comfort in knowing he is not really alone and that that he has someone to help him when it is needed, like his friends at the Financial Opportunity Center and our partners. He also shared his concern about housing and dealing with technology but says he is getting better at it after attending our free workshops.
We are now proud to announce that Brian passed his background check and is an official employee of Tesla! He is now employed with a prestigious company where he will receive benefits and a salary that will allow him to secure permanent housing.
Brian’s story is truly inspiring. He never gave up when things seemed overwhelming and always maintained a positive attitude. We are so happy to see him eager to learn and reach his full potential. When asked to share his message to the world, he responded “Have faith in God and each other. Things happen and it is not always going to be easy but, don’t give up! It will get better as long as you stay the course!” When asked what advice he would give anyone in a similar predicament, he stated “Ask for help. If you don’t ask, no one knows!”
Brian is a reminder of why we do what we do at CRCD and the impact we can have on the lives of our program participants and the community we serve.