Success from Renewal, Inc.
“I’ve struggled with addiction most of my life. I was in and out of juvenile detention and rehabilitation centers since I was 11 and in prison at 19. I was strung out on crack cocaine and working for an escort service in Ft. Lauderdale. I weighed 88 pounds and truly lived to get high.
By the time I reached 30, I was beginning to get tired. My life had no meaning. Then I met a guy who wanted me to change my life. He begged me to stop using drugs but I couldn’t. When he fell asleep, I would rob him. But he never gave up or turned his back on me.
Finally I crashed and was ready to make a change. An uncle in Pittsburgh needed care so my guy and I packed up and we moved. That’s where life started to get better. I got a job at Subway and worked my way up to management. I was earning a good wage and was able to buy a car. But for some reason, nothing felt right and I wasn’t happy. Getting out of bed was a struggle.
In spite of that, I married the man who believed in me. After my mother became ill in Florida, I returned there to help care for her but when I got back to Pittsburgh, I started using again. I stole from my employer and was caught. Because of my history, the judge sentenced me to 9 – 18 months at a Renewal facility. While there, I completed inpatient and outpatient treatment, was diagnosed with depression and met with a counselor weekly who helped me learn about myself and find some inner peace.
Today, I’m gainfully employed, married and expecting a baby. I attribute my continued recovery to the counseling and services I received at Renewal. The team there has stood by me and provided me the resources I need to face and overcome obstacles that come my way.
Words can never say how grateful I am.”Melissa S.
Renewal Community Partner
“Renewal, Inc. has partnered with Cribs for Kids since 2006. Today we have over 700 partners who rely on the hard work of our Renewal volunteers to assure they receive their product in a timely manner so that no baby is left without a safe place to sleep.
We are often humbled by Renewal reentrants’ dedication and their willingness to help us any time they’re available. They truly understand, and express that understanding to us, the importance of the work they are doing and the satisfaction they get from helping to keep babies safe.
All of our employees are inspired by the Renewal reentrants; they recognize that they are just like anyone else, and have struggled to overcome obstacles and live better lives. On more than one occasion, reentrants have come back to visit and have brought their families to meet their Cribs for Kids co-workers.
In 2013, we held our Fourth National Infant Safe Sleep Conference in Pittsburgh at the Omni William Penn. We had asked Harold and Mark, two of our volunteers from Renewal, to help us out. The work entailed lifting, moving and setting up, everything that goes into putting on these kinds of events.
They arrived in their normal work clothes and had everything set up for registration by the opening. Later after guests began to arrive, I visited the reception area and saw two people behind the counter that I barely recognized. It was Harold and Mark dressed in business suits complete with white shirts and ties. I told them how great they looked and they told me that in anticipation of ‘having the privilege’ of being a part of the conference, they went to Goodwill and bought ‘appropriate’ clothing.
They brought tears to my eyes. It has been a privilege to work with the organization and an inspiring group of Renewal reentrants.”Judith B.
Renewal Employer Profile
“We’ve been working with Renewal for a number of years and it’s been a very good relationship. Renewal is excellent at screening applicants and bringing us people that fit our profile which is a willingness to work hard, be responsible to your fellow employees and generally be a good team player.
It’s not easy work, but we try not to make the job harder by judging people by their background or things they’ve done in their past.
I had a boss years ago that emphasized to me that work should be a safe place where people can come and not be discriminated against because they’ve had a hard family life, tough breaks or made some mistakes in the past they regret.
You should be happy to come to work because work is hard enough. I talk to our Renewal people and I tell them that it’s a tough road to succeed but that there’s a better way to live life than maybe the way they’ve lived in the past… it might be a longer road, but in the end it will result in more freedom and happiness.
When I say that, you can just see the relief in some of these guy’s faces… that someone understands and accepts them and wants to help them have a better life. That’s what we try to do.”Steve L.