I grew up in Baltimore, one of four (4) children (oldest to 3 sisters) who after age 6 were raised by my Mom. Felt that I had to protect my Mom and sisters so I became a tough guy, knew I would have to fight every day. I graduated from Patterson High School in 1978 – I loved school but the guys I hung with on the streets didn’t so I did just enough to get by and get out.

I started drinking and using drugs early and by 1985 I was in prison, serving 15 years of a 20-year sentence. When I came out at 41 my sister’s boyfriend told me about CP and I decided to go there.

The staff at CP thought I would never make it with my tough guy attitude. I remember clearly what Roman; the manager at the time, said when he asked what philosophy I lived my life by.  I told him that at 5 I knew I had to be tough – if you hit me I was going to come back at you. He asked how that philosophy, set by a child, was working for a 41-year man.  It had an impact, but not enough at that time because I left and feel back into bad habits. I remember the staff saying that I could always come back when I was ready to grow and they would be there to help and support me.

I was living in Cherry Hill with a family that was involved heavily in drugs. One day, I remember I had enough, moved out and went into a 30-day drug program. When I was clean, I went back to CP, it was like going home – the staff remembered me and they helped guide me to where I am today. I have my Associates degree and next year will graduate from Coppin State with a Bachelors. I am deciding on University of Maryland or Morgan State to continue my education with a Masters in Social Work.

I intern at the Center – it motivates me to help the other guys going through the program – I know what they have been through and I know where they can go and it makes me feel good that I can give back. I remember that the folks at CP were there for me – they told me they would not let me go through my journey alone and they never did.  I feel good knowing that I am there for other men.

I always felt accepted and supported at the Center and they helped me establish goals. I come here every chance I get – it is a safe place.

I don’t even think about where I would be without CP, I think about where I am going and have gone with their help.

Thank you for your generosity – you make it all possible.

Christopher Place Employment Academy