Cleveland’s Story – The Missing Smile
Cleveland stopped smiling in 1987.
He was working a steady job and had been there for five years when one day he came home to the worst news a parent can receive. Cleveland’s one-year-old son had been beaten to death by his baby sitter.
“I still feel the chill down my spine every time I think about it,” Cleveland says. Unable to cope with the sadness, he stopped caring about his life.
“I just became angry and mad at the world. My life began to take a turn for the worse. I turned to alcohol and drugs. I lost everything, my home, my family and ended up in prison. I could not handle the pain and walked around homeless for many years.”
When someone believes in you, everything can change.
Cleveland says the turning point in his life came when he came into contact with DuPagePads. In addition to basic needs like food and shelter, DuPagePads connected him with a case manager who helped him find counseling to deal with his addictions and inner anger and obtain needed medication to stay in a stable mental state.
Cleveland is now clean: no drugs, alcohol and smoking. He was reunited with his children and says the best day of his life was the day he opened the door to his DuPagePads apartment. “I did not believe this could be my life again.”
Cleveland described his experience with DuPagePads like this:
“DuPagePads was the only place that had the patience to work with me. People cared about me. They wanted me to get better, for myself and for my other children. My case managers made me want to be a better person. DuPagePads opened doors I thought would never open.
Housing is such a blessing. I feel good about providing a stable home for my children to visit. I continue to work on my goals and I hope to get back to work again soon.
One of the biggest changes that people notice about me is that I now smile – DuPagePads helped me get to this point.
I want to thank DuPagePads for saving my life. I want to thank all of you for caring about me. God Bless you all!”