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  • Writer's pictureJobs of Hope

Mike's Story

Meet Mike! Mike’s story is a bit different from many of the participant stories we share, as Mike has actually spent time working within the legal system. For thirty-seven years, Mike was employed by the State of Colorado, working for fifteen years at a juvenile hall, then for a couple of years in detention, and then spending the last twenty years of his career as a junior parole officer, working with kids and families in Larimer, Weld, and Adams county. He is also a cancer survivor. Five years ago he retired, and he went to work as a cashier at a couple of grocery stores in the area. However, as Mike says, “COVID kind of threw a wrench into everything.” According to Mike, “I used to party in college, and I got married in college and had a son in college. It [drinking] became an issue back in the 80s, and in 1984 I got my first DUI. Of course, that didn’t stop me, and two years later I got my second DUI. I kind of got the message after my second DUI. I went thirty-six years, and then a year and a half ago I got my third DUI. With that one, one thing I learned about myself is, I use alcohol to cope. When I drank this last time and got my DUI, my son was in the hospital with COVID, and we didn’t know if he was going to make it. So I kind of gave in to the alcohol, and I went out to get a sandwich to eat half a mile away. And that's all it took. I'm responsible for all of it, and I just did what I had to do, you know. Take responsibility, and try to move on. That's how I ended up getting into this program.” Mike shared that up to that point, he had also been the caretaker for his parents, caring for his mother until her passing two years ago, and his father until last year, when he unexpectedly found himself without a place to stay. One of Jobs of Hope’s staff members, Billy, approached Mike about coming to stay at the House of Hope. Mike says he is glad that Jobs of Hope provides a place for people to get back on their feet. As he says, “I thought I’d never find myself in that position, but I did.” Regarding his experience on both sides of the law, Mike says, “It’s very interesting.” In his work, his job was to enforce the rules. And that involves a lot of authority and power because one of the consequences of messing up while on parole is incarceration. When coming to Jobs of Hope, he says he was reluctant to share that he was a parole officer. But he felt safe enough to share that with other participants, and it gave him an opportunity to talk with other participants and give them advice because he is very familiar with the legal system. He says that he has been able to use his time at Jobs of Hope to both help others and help himself. Right now, Mike’s goal is to find employment, although, as he says, it can be difficult to find employment as an older person. We hope that you will pray with us for all of our participants, including Mike, that they will have success in finding employment, finding housing, and finding transformation in their lives. As we celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of Jobs of Hope, we are grateful to have been able to support participants with a wide range of lived experiences. We are thankful for the many community members who have supported us over the years and made it possible for us to impact so many lives!

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