Charles Hopkins: “All In”
Meet Charles Hopkins, a July 2020 graduate of Samaritan Ministry’s STRIVE job readiness training. As a returning citizen after 47 years of incarceration, Charles was immediately challenged to find employment and housing upon his release and re-entry to society. .
With the help of his parole officer he found transitional housing, but just as importantly, Sophia Nalty, his SMGW Caseworker, stayed in touch with him to see how he was doing as well as inviting him to take STRIVE training. From Ms. Nalty, he learned that the training wouldn’t be “a cakewalk” but he knew he needed some basic, critical soft skills to sustain employment “on the outside.” So, he made an important decision: he accepted the coaching and enrolled in the training!
Critical to that decision were the words of Ms. Nalty: “Mr. Hopkins, this is a partnership, not just a program!” He was one of only a few graduates; he credits his success to the fact that he was “all in,” viewing the training as a never-ending, “life resource not just an opportunity.”
Mr. Hopkins completed his first educational goal when he enrolled in the Georgetown University Pivot Program for returning citizens that would also “teach him how to fish” as a coach himself – another step on his OWN path, to empower other returning citizens as he had been empowered. At the same time, he landed a job working for Nehemiah House and shortly thereafter solidified a brand-new apartment, successfully reaching his goal of finding stable housing. Says Mr. Hopkins: “If you accept the coaching and take STRIVE training, you’ll get what you need to accomplish your goals.”
Mr. Hopkins is now working on his “Next Step”: becoming a certified Peer Recovery Specialist, and he reports that STRIVE training has prepared him well: “The Next Step Program, specifically STRIVE training challenged me not to see myself as my past. [It] challenged me to be sensitive to other’s needs. [It] challenged me to be patient, to trust the process, to not take criticism, disagreements, or differences of opinions as a personal afront . . . Samaritan Ministry’s STRIVE training gave me the confidence to believe in myself,” he said. Mr. Hopkins has made amazing strides so far and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead!