Posts Tagged Feature

Terrence on ice

Terrence Robinson has served as the Team Captain of the MCVET team ever since his teammates nominated him last August. Although Terrence’s work and school responsibilities sometimes prevent him from running with the BoMF team in the morning, he usually takes the time to circle up with his teammates for a few minutes before they start running. On these days, he playfully reports his distance as 0.1 miles – the distance from MCVET to the BoMF circle that gathers across the street.

When Terrence is out, he coaxes his fellow runners up hills and distracts them with carefree banter about his adolescent son who runs track. He consistently encourages his teammates, which he appreciated during his first race: the MCVET 5k last May. The former MCVET Team Leader paced Terrence during the race, yet Terrence knew the Team Leader could have easily outrun him. The dedication and camaraderie this action displayed struck Terrence and enabled him to realize that BoMF is about supporting others as they move their lives forward from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Terrence is pleased with the ways his accomplishments are leading him toward self-sufficiency, especially his recent promotion toSecurity Staff at MCVET. While his new position still requires him to log his activities like a Vet Guard, he will now report to the Chief of Security and be solely responsible for the safety of every person in the building during his shift. This means that Terrence will be responsible for remedying emergency situations and for resolving conflicts that arise between MCVET residents.

Soon, Terrence plans to move into Single Room Occupancy (SRO), the final phase of the recovery program at MCVET. He happily says that this move “will allow me the good fortune of becoming an alumni of BoMF.” He’s also considering running the Nikia Half Marathon or joining a relay team in April. He says it depends on his schedule and ability to fit in training with his responsibilities for his recovery, school, and work. By August, Terrence plans to add 18 months clean and sober to his list of accomplishments and to complete the Commercial Industrial Maintenance Program at North American Trade. Looking more long-term, Terrence hopes to buy a home and send his son to college once he graduates in 2016. He believes that his ultimate goal of reintegrating into his family and community is well within his reach.

As he moves his life forward, Terrence hopes to give back and help others do the same through volunteering or sharing his story from addiction and homelessness to self-sufficiency in order to inspire others. Terrence says BoMF and MCVET have “plac[ed] me in position to take advantage of opportunities that I would have not been able to access otherwise…Skills to Succeed, financial assistance, credit counseling, and the renewing of my mind as well as my body.” The job preparation, job training, and financial literacy skills Terrence has learned, along with the support from his teammates, will help enable Terrence to accomplish his goals.

Jackie B. first heard about Back on My Feet from a friend in her hometown of Wilmington, Delaware who was a member at New Jerusalem Now (NJN). “When I first started I couldn’t run the whole distance. I’m a sprinter by nature so I had to start by walking. It made me feel like I accomplished something. I’m not only running for myself, I’m also running for someone else – for a lot of people.” Jackie was nervous for her first 5k race last October. After completing it, she realized “I can do this.” Since then Jackie has been consistently improving her race times and ran at the AT&T Back on My Feet Halfway-to-Broad 5-miler, despite occasional knee pain. Jackie says about the morning runs, “now I don’t even need an alarm clock. I wake up ready to run at 4:30 every morning.”

Since joining Back on My Feet, Jackie states that meeting diverse people like students from Temple and members from other BoMF teams has made her realize that each person’s story is different and relevant and in Jackie’s own words, “that I am somebody.”  Jackie’s big eyes and mischievous smile easily break into a laugh and can’t help but spread a positive mood to those around her.

Jackie had to face the untimely death of her young son, which ultimately inspired her to join the immersive, community addiction recovery program at NJN to change the direction of her life.  “I run the bad stuff off. I always say ‘Good Morning’ to my son, who is with me every day. If it wasn’t for him I’d still be sitting on the corner doing what I was doing (drugs). Now I’m doing something for me, something that is positive.”

Jackie is currently a house manager at NJN where she oversees a house of six women in the addiction recovery program.  She is an excellent motivator to the women at the house as well as to her BoMF teammates and keeps people giggling early in the morning.  Through her dedication and hard work, she manages to maintain an endearing sunny attitude, consistency and approachability.  She takes a behind-the-scenes leadership approach through many small acts that make a big difference. Whether it’s acting as a voicemail/secretary for her house residents or cooking for someone who doesn’t like to cook just to be nice, Jackie always steps up. If you’re lucky, you can spot her cooking up her favorite meal, Chicken Parmesan.

Jackie has been attending banking courses with BoMF and recently enrolled in a beginner’s computer course that she is excited about. Her openness to change and learning is contagious, even in regards to things that intimidate her and she says she knows nothing about.

 “I never completed anything I started in my life. Back on My Feet has shown me that I can do that. It helps me to keep my mind together and now I believe my kids when they tell me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.” Jackie’s kids are proud of her for being part of Back on My Feet, living at New Jerusalem Now and running races.