This Spring we opened what many see as the best house for transition and sober living in not just Sacramento, California, not just in California, but in the entire USA.
It is a godsend to the men we serve in many ways. Not just because it's a duplex that allows us to serve 12 "special needs" men, nor for the the safe beds we provide to each resident, nor for the beauty of the building with 10' ceilings, marble floors, gorgeous kitchens, and other fine appointments, but also for the unique programming that we have developed exclusively for this group.
Part of that unique programming allows us to help the men help themselves become citizens again after many years of incarceration. One way we do this is involve them in keeping the house in pristine condition so they are proud to live there and the neighbors are glad to have them there as well. Many unique and wonderful talents the men have exhibited are fostered - such as a love for landscaping, vehicle maintenance, and even refrigeration.
Our desire is to make each man know his value. We invite you to pray with us about that powerful need for this population that has been told otherwise by so family, friends and authorities.
In April 2016 Craig C. paroled to Freedom Though Education's Freedom House USA main facility in South Sacramento, CA where he joined over 30 other residents.
Craig responded right away to all of our (and WestCare's) in service treatment plans and remained at the top of the class in all he pursued that we offered. It came as no surprise to see him quickly get employed in the construction field - working two jobs at times - always saving for the day he would transition out from under our care.
After nearly a year of living with four men in one of our apartment units, working his program and saving, Craig expressed the desire to move to one of our self-pay houses to continue the safe environment, save for more living options, and gain some positive rental history.
The new environment is different than our apartment facility.in several ways:
Today Craig has obtained his Class A drivers license and is driving for a trucking firm based in Sacramento.
Our mission statement says "we cannot control the choices men make, but we can expand the choices they have". Craig continues to exemplify that statement working very well.
On a cold Saturday morning in February, 2018, Freedom House USA, a division of Freedom Through Education - Director Jason Gottleib gathered 10 volunteers from our Transitional Living and Sober Living 36 bed apartment complex on the corner of 46th Ave. and MLK boulevard to work our 3rd monthly “Be Real Neighbors” project. These men worked tirelessly side by side with Jason and other Freedom House USA staff members in South Sacramento accomplishing the backache challenging process of gathering, lifting and transporting 4 heaping pickup loads of TVs, mattresses, landscaping debris, and you-name-it trash to local landfills.
The good things are many. One is we had other volunteers join us, something one doesn’t see so often anymore. Another is the district manager, Monty Hall, has generously pledged his support for this project by ordering landfill passes for us and a dump truck to be used monthly by our team. We can’t thank him enough for helping us in this way. His support will enable us to continue this fine work on our next Be Real Neighbors this April.
Not everything came up roses for us. We were not received by all in the neighborhood with accolades. Some had jeering comments asking why we would bother doing such a thing. e only answer is “because we are your neighbors and take pride in this area.” Thankfully several neighbors were supportive enough to make us want to do this again and again. ere are real costs involved with clean-ups - mattresses and TV’s etc. cost more than normal junk to deposit at landfills - hence these items being discarded regularly in our neighborhoods. It all adds up to a sizable investment for a non-profit to take
One thing we witnessed first-hand is that the four streets we cleaned that morning were refilled within a day or two with even more debris and trash than before. This may happen for some time as we get the area used to what a clean street and environment looks like.
These are actual words of our residents about the experience:
“We want to...inspire those that live here to care as well. I personally enjoyed going street to street cleaning up and having people come out of their homes to thank us for the job we’re doing....” Jeff S.
“I took time out of my (school) schedule to help clean up. Hearing people drive by in cars beeping their horns because they like what we are doing in the community (is fantastic). People in the community said they want to help next time.” Michael B.
“I realized during this project that we have to be consistent to make the impact needed in the neighborhood and truly make a difference.” A. Nonymous
“The things we learn here (at Freedom House USA) are irreplaceable life skills - like the way we donate time and effort to pick up trash in our neighborhood, showing all the residents we care. Hopefully our efforts will grow and more the the community will join in.” William R.
We invite other communities to join us in the beautification of our neighborhoods in this manner. For details on what it takes to accomplish this with the least amount of stress, contact our director Jason Gottleib at Jason@ftecampus.com. To know more about our enriching program, contact Delia Ortiz, our tireless intake specialist at Delia@ftecampus.com.