John H. – My Fears Won’t Control Me

“No one plans to become homeless,” John says. “I had been living in New Hampshire — working two jobs to support my family. When my marriage ended, I moved back to Boston to be closer to my relatives, but they weren’t able to help me. I ended up living out of my car for four months. I felt worthless. I’m almost 50 and I never expected this to happen to me.”

“I learned about Pine Street Inn from one of the staff members. One day, I was sitting by my car right outside the Men’s Inn and the staff member suggested that I come into the shelter,” John says. “Believe it or not, being homeless has taught me a lot. Everyone has a story. If you show sincerity and listen when you talk with people, they will open up to you. If you treat people with respect, you will get that back. I think that people have a negative stereotype of ‘the homeless,’ but people here have literally given me the jacket off of their backs.”

Now enrolled in Pine Street’s iCater food services job training program, John is excited for the future. “It’s the best decision that I’ve ever made,” John says. “In a strange way, becoming homeless was a blessing in disguise. I’ve been interested in cooking for a long time, so this has been a great opportunity. When I’m cooking, I feel like I’m connecting with people on a whole different level.”

“I realized that my fear of failure and my depression have limited me,” John says. “I’m working with a therapist now and I’m committed to finishing the iCater program and becoming a cook — maybe even a professional chef one day. It’s important for people who are homeless to know that this experience doesn’t define them. If you’ve had struggles in the past, you can’t let that get in the way of who you can be. Remember that you’re destined for greatness.”