about us: stories

NOEL

“Without them, I’d probably still be searching for a full-time job. The employer told me, ‘It’s because of your references. We checked out your work history, you have a job.”

I remember when my son was born. The first time I got to see him was through a glass window in jail. I was 23 years old and it really woke me up. I knew I needed to change my life.

I have a horrible background – four felonies. I’m on federal probation. After prison, I was in the halfway house with nowhere to go, no place to stay. I was working in fast food restaurants for minimum wage.

I ran into Next Step and it was like it was meant to be. Scott told me one of his apartments opened up and he let me stay there with no deposit, just rent. I wanted to work and I took the job as an opportunity. I knew nothing about the work Next Step provided; I had to be trained in everything. It was challenging, but I learned a lot because I was motivated and determined. Without them, I’d probably still be searching for a full-time job.

After working a while at Next Step, I went up north and was hired on the spot at a restaurant. The housing applications I filled out, they all called. They’re like, ‘It’s because of your references. We checked out your work history, you have a job,’ and it’s pretty much all because of Next Step.

The people at Next Step genuinely care about you. That’s why I love working here. They’re all about being positive and helping you. They’re a big reason why I’ve stay motivated.

You can still do what you want to in life. I felt that working here I had the opportunity to do that. People can change, be positive, do what they want to do and still be you. I know I’m never going back to my old life, no matter how hard it gets.

Copyright 2013. Next Step West Michigan.