Hello, my name is Joseph Lidge. Three years ago, I was homeless, and I decided that I wanted to change my life. This decision was very hard. I was very very scared. I ended up going to a halfway house, where I learned of ACCES-VR. And I also learned that I would be going to Goodwill Industries of Western New York (Buffalo). I have no idea what it was, I just knew this was the direction I had to go because I didn’t know anyplace else. I had nowhere else to go.
So I came to Goodwill Industries. I started the work readiness program and educational and vocational rehabilitation. I began my journey working in the readiness program with janitorial and maintenance, stripping floors and waxing the building. I met my counselors. They were all kind and good. I have to say that I was very nervous because I was very untrusting then. I was very untrusting of people. My life was … it was almost like living in a box. But the people at Goodwill freed me up from that. They talked to me. They were patient. They were kind. From there, they took me out to different employment agencies and jobs where I put in applications.
In April 2012, I got a job at the Adams Mark Hotel. I hadn’t worked then 10 years before that. It was just unbelievable that somebody would hire me. That I was hireable. From there, I had a good relationship with my supervisor, and she ended up leaving for one reason or another. She left, and she had another job at the Staybridge Hotel. Staybridge Suites, I should say. And she called me, to my surprise.
It’s hard to put into words. It’s just amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it and you have people that are willing to be patient and work with you. I thought in my mind that people were just all stuck on themselves, but there are people in the world that really care for other people, and they’re sticking their hand out. And that’s what happened to me. With all that help, I can’t show enough gratitude to Goodwill Industries. I continued on, and I have a job at Staybridge Suites right now. I’m currently in college. I have seven more classes before I get my degree in mental health and substance abuse.
Life couldn’t be better. I couldn’t ask … I COULD ask for more, and I will ask for more, as long as I’m willing to put the effort behind it to get it. Lost dreams can be captured, just a little bit at a time. Thank you very much.