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Second Chances Start with Digging Deep


Apr 10, 2024
Rooted in Raymond, New Hampshire with his wife who was struggling with multiple sclerosis, Gerald found himself homeless, living in a tent, and struggling with substance use. Determined to pursue a better quality of life for himself and his wife, Gerald made a life-altering decision to seek help.

In May of 2023, Gerald sought assistance for his substance use disorder through inpatient rehabilitation.  In one of his inpatient programs, he established a strong bond with an intern who helped him work through his relationship with substances and referred him to additional resources to support other facets of his life. Gerald was determined to seek out job opportunities so the intern connected him with Sandi, a Working Fields Senior Account Manager in Dover, NH.

Sandi spoke of support and job openings in the greater Rochester, NH area — stuck between a rock and a hard place — Gerald was still in Raymond and struggling to find a place to live. 

“Sandi really seemed like she wanted to try and help as much as she could,” Gerald said. “At the time I didn’t have many people who were willing to do that, so I wanted to connect back with her.”

Gerald was committed to living near Rochester to further explore avenues with Working Fields.

Moving on to Carve a Path Forward

Living closer to Rochester came with its own set of challenges and Gerald realized he would have to be apart from his wife to take the next steps to work on himself. 

The decision to live separately was, and has been, challenging, but he believed it to be a necessary step to find a job. Gerald took a chance on himself and found housing at a sober living home in Rochester that would help him stay on track with his sobriety. To help others, you must help yourself first. 

“It’s a good house full of guys and it’s been that way since I’ve been there,” Gerald said. “I kind of lucked out in that sense.”

With a secure living situation in a new community of people working toward collective recovery, Gerald was ready to continue toward his goals. Soon after the move, he reconnected with Sandi from Working Fields to explore job openings in the area, but there was one caveat. 

“I didn’t work a job for 15 years so it was kind of nerve-wracking to get back into the working field,” said Gerald.

Sandi worked closely with Gerald to calm his nerves and prepare him to re-enter the workforce. Sandi connected Gerald with a Working Fields peer coach who helped support him through the workforce re-entry process with regular check in meetings and guidance.

Gerald was also set up with a familiar face – Working Fields’ newest Account Manager, Justin, whom he had met previously through a different organization.

“I was able to connect with Justin again through Working Fields which was great,” Gerald said. “He’s a good guy to work with – always been willing to help with anything that he can and go above and beyond.”

Embracing Stability & Support

With peer coaching and job readiness support from his team at Working Fields, Gerald stepped back into work without skipping a beat. Working Fields matched him with a quality inspector position at Forward Merch, a full-service entertainment merchandising company in Dover, NH. 

Now working four ten-hour days, he's embraced the stability of a full-time job and has even taken on working overtime when the opportunity is available. 

“Gerald has been a fantastic addition to our team at Forward Merch,” said Alden, HR Manager and In-House Counsel at Forward Merch. “He shows up to work with a can-do attitude and works great in a team environment."

His success at Forward Merch reflects not just professional growth but a personal triumph as he’s overcome the stress and nerves of getting back to work. 

“I’ve been able to deal with the stresses of it pretty well so far,” Gerald said. “I think because this has been something I have been looking forward to for a while, but I just hadn’t been able to get myself to do it. Now that I’m doing it, I’m more grateful for it.”

The Future Looks Bright 

Throughout this journey, Gerald has worked closely with Sandi and Justin, individuals whose unwavering support has played a crucial role in his progress. Their commitment to making a positive impact has inspired Gerald, and he aspires to work alongside such compassionate individuals in the future.

Gerald's aspirations extend beyond his current employment. Engaging with Dover Adult Education, he's exploring avenues to further and continue his education past his existing GED. He is excitedly looking into college-level options with a dream to enter the field of recovery therapy down the road. 

“It’s just really putting my foot down with myself and stepping out of my own way, and realizing that I needed help and pursuing avenues and places that can help me,” Gerald said.

As he navigates a new way of life and looks toward his future, Gerald remains resolute to his wife, aiming to secure a better quality of life for them both after this chapter of their lives.

“I’m doing this for not only myself but for my wife as well,” said Gerald. “She’s in Raymond and I’m out in Rochester. I’m hoping to get a place for both of us soon.”

Gerald's story exemplifies the power of determination, second chances, and the crucial role of support in one's journey toward personal and professional fulfillment. As he works through his ongoing recovery, Gerald continues to take deeper steps to work on all aspects of his life, which shows his true commitment to a brighter future.


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