"I've always loved to cook, and when I turned 21, I joined the army where I worked as a food service specialist. After getting out of the military, I struggled with drugs and moved around, to Ohio, Virginia, Connecticut and Massachusetts figuring each time I moved I would get away from my addiction. But that didn't work, and I wound up in prison.
When I finished serving my time, I struggled with homelessness and came to Pine Street Inn, where I joined the iCater food service training program. You are paid to work, learn culinary skills and prepare for employment.
Now I'm the head chef at Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurant at Northeastern University. I've been there for two-and-a-half years, and am saving money to open my own restaurant - that's my goal, to have a place that draws in all kinds of people.
I just moved into Pine Street's new housing on Seaver Street in Dorchester. I really like how my home is close to my job. I am so happy to have stable housing with support services - it keeps me pointed in the right direction.
There might be someone experiencing homelessness, who feels the odds are against them, but I would say 'no, Pine Street is here.' I appreciate everything that Pine Street has done for me. They saved my life, and I thank them every time I have a chance."