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New Wisdom Leads a Guest to St. Anthony’s and the Promise of a Future Filled with Peace and Serenity

February 1, 2024

Michael’s path to working at St. Anthony’s is a story of a long-awaited new beginning. Having faced a nomadic childhood due to his father’s Air Force career, he grew accustomed to constant change. This, he noted, positively influenced his adaptability and sense of connection to the tight-knit military communities in the places they lived. However, a series of unfortunate choices led Michael to prison for eight and a half years, a period that marked a significant turn in his life.

During his time in prison, Michael turned to reading as a means of escape and growth, consuming thousands of books and refining his understanding of literature. This period was not only a way to pass time but also a crucial phase of introspection and adaptation. He viewed his experience as a chance for personal growth, remarking, “[Prison] actually turned out to be pretty good…it probably saved my life.” His positive attitude and engagement in reading helped him navigate the challenges of prison life.

Michael standing outside

Upon his release, Michael was relocated to San Francisco, a move that wasn’t by choice but a consequence of the system’s decision. Initially relocating from Sacramento, he had to adjust to this new chapter in his life. Despite the unexpected change, he found a sense of belonging and opportunity for a fresh start in the city.

Reflecting on his transition from prison to society, Michael recalled, “When I got out of prison, I was sent to a halfway house… they require you to work or volunteer somewhere until you find a job.” This directive led him to volunteer at St. Anthony’s, a choice he made for its safer environment compared to other organizations in the neighborhood. After so many years in prison, his initial experience at St. Anthony’s was awkward, as he describes it, but welcoming. This volunteer role eventually turned into a job opportunity within the Transitional Employment Program, with Michael saying, “I started working here as a kitchen assistant, and I’m hoping it turns into something long-term.”

His experience at St. Anthony’s has been incredibly positive. He expressed gratitude for the organization, noting, “It’s been great. They gave me my first set of clothes when I got here. They give me the opportunity to rise above… gave me the opportunity to work around in an atmosphere that’s pretty positive.” Michael’s journey with St. Anthony’s underscores his path toward a new beginning in a supportive environment, highlighting the Foundation’s critical role in his reintegration and personal growth.

Looking ahead, Michael’s plans are centered on stability and growth. He aims to keep his job at St. Anthony’s and stay out of trouble, reflecting his desire for a steady, secure future. Michael’s journey is a testament to the critical role of St. Anthony’s in the community in enabling peace, prosperity, and long-term stability in life.

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