Richard grew up in a neighborhood that was “a pocket of drugs, guns, shootings, violence . . . whatever.” By the time he was 27, he was suffering from addiction and struggling to keep custody of his two young boys.
“I had a long list of problems that hit the floor. I knew I would crack under the pressure. I had no idea therapy existed for a guy like me. I was hurting in my head. I walked in blind to Gardner. They gave me a hand to hold.”
Richard received treatment from Gardner’s Behavioral Health Services Department while studying full time at San Jose City College, working on weekends and taking care of his sons. He struggled to overcome his addictions.
“My mind lived in relapse – my thoughts were always in a state of deterioration. I was searching blind, but I knew I had to make this work.”
After a year, Richard’s therapist told him she was pleased with his progress.
“My therapist walked through my troubles with me. I took it seriously and so did she. She gave me peace to hold on to.”
She told him she wanted to close his case and asked him to stay on at Gardner as an intern helping other patients.
“She gave me back my confidence. ‘We’re putting you to work,’ she said.”
When Richard received his Associates Degree at San Jose City College in the Alcohol and Drug Studies Program, Gardner asked him to become an employee.
“Now I have a purpose, meaningful work. I can have an impact on my community and show my sons how to be a man.”
Today, Richard works fulltime at Gardner as a peer mentor. His duties include counseling, mentoring, case management, crisis intervention, and group facilitation.
“I can switch roles in a heartbeat. I make it fit. I have lots of experiences to share. I was willing to put my bootstraps on because I had to pull myself up.”
Richard aspires to be promoted to a Counselor I position at Gardner and has plans to take the test to make this happen. He is 33 and his boys are 7 and 11 years old.
“I came across a few genuine people who were willing to be there for me. Now, I want to help others.”
Will you provide a gift to Gardner to help patients like Richard overcome their addiction?
Last year, we treated 65,000 of Santa Clara County’s working poor. Almost a third were uninsured and living below the national poverty line, and 88% were Hispanic/Latino. Nearly 22,000 of our patients do not speak English.
This year, we received a 2:1 Challenge Grant from the Sobrato Family Foundation. For every new or increased gift we receive in 2017, they will double it, up to $20,000.
Please donate today to ensure that Gardner can continue to provide top quality medical care to underserved families like Richard’s.
You can also donate at: www.gardnerfamilyhealth.org/support-gardner/
With deep gratitude,
Chief Executive Officer