By Chrystopher Anglin
Part III of Chyrstopher's Journey
At the heart of it all, I just wanted to help people better their lives. I made a lot of mistakes in my past and this was a way to ‘even the scales’ so to speak but I did not know what or frankly, how much I could do. A friend suggested volunteering. He said it was a way to relearn my skills and feel out the daily routine of working again he referred me to PRC (Positive Resource Center). They were the people who pointed me towards PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support). PAWS is an organization that provides food and minor medical services to pets of homeless men and women. That was a perfect fit for me.
I connected with PRC but since I hadn’t figured out a clear employment goal my job counselor, Dennis Riley, recommended a volunteer position where I volunteered three days a week, four hours a day. I worked at the front desk became re acquainted with computers and hadn't realized that many things had changed with computers. Technology had evolved. I felt like a fish out of water. I was in my late forties and hadn’t worked in close to twenty years. Now, as I write about it I realize that the pressure that I put on myself was what I always did. I expected to just pick things up where I left off. I expected perfection. I have come to realize that the difference now is that I’m more patient. That’s a ‘benefit’ (if you can call it that) of being disabled: patience. But it was fun to interact with the public again and feel useful, which is one of the things that having a disability takes from you.
One of the people I met at PAWS was Scott Justus. Remember that name because he would play a pivotal role in my future. We hit it off immediately. We both shared a love for tennis but it was his engaging personality that made me feel at ease. To me, one of the most important factors in a work environment is inclusiveness. Each person that worked there did that, but it was Scott that stood out for me. Working with Scott taught me not to judge another person.That is why him, working at MHASF is a bonus for them and the people that benefit from his kindness. I stopped volunteering a few months later not because of the job but due to a medical condition - I had to have a minor surgery. My volunteer experience was great. Not only did I meet some very awesome people, I came away confident - I could physically and mentally handle a paid job.