A Next Step Program Participant, we’ll call him Donald, learned about Next Steps of East Cooper (NSEC) from East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO). When he first came to NSEC in August 2017, Donald was homeless living in a dog-house behind a run-down house in Mt. Pleasant.
His life was miserable and he feared if he didn’t do something to get out of his current situation he would remain homeless.
During his 90-minute intake interview, Donald and his NSEC mentors identified many potential goals that would help him make positive changes in his life. Over the next four months, Donald achieved some goals and is on the road to achieving others.
Under his full-time employment goal, Donald decided that that he wanted to continue to work in restaurants. Until he came to NSEC, Donald had been working off and on as a dish washer and in limited food preparation. His goal, however, was to become a waiter—in his words to move from the back to the front of the restaurant. To do that, Donald needed dentures to replace a mouth full of broken and decayed teeth.
His first step towards this goal was to go to ECCO’s dental clinic and have all of his teeth extracted. He accomplished this in early December and is now waiting the 6-8 week period before NSEC sends him to Catholic Charities for a complete set of dentures.
In the meantime, Donald found a new job working as a dishwasher and doing food preparation, paying $10/hour. He also applied for and received food stamps.
A former acquaintance also allowed Donald to live in a trailer on his property and this allowed him to get out of the dog house. This may be a temporary fix because the acquaintance must soon go to court where the county wants the trailer moved from his property.
Donald also suffers from alcoholism. The pastor of the church he attends has confronted Donald with this problem and Donald has shared with his desire to stop drinking with his NSEC mentors. NSEC is looking into Charleston Place and several halfway houses, particularly Christian halfway houses, where Donald could go when he truly accepts the fact that he can’t deal with his drinking problem without placing it in Jesus’ hands.
Life for NSEC program participants can be rough, but people like Donald know that their NSEC mentors will never give up on them if they do not give up on themselves.
Learn more about what we offer our participants and refer people in need to us. We’re happy to help.