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“This wasn’t supposed to happen to me!” said Jerry Bauer. Raised in a military household, he understood hard work and rules. He attended college in Ohio, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree. For 28 years, Jerry ran a lucrative auto detailing company in Miami, Florida. He was successful and had the financial means to run with the “fast” crowd, which led to a life of addiction. After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida, Jerry moved to Texas to be closer to family and started over.
He was evicted from his apartment in San Antonio due to drug possession. Jerry was one of the first clients to enter Haven for Hope and was given a bed in the men’s dormitory. He worked with a case manager and was back on his own in a short time. However, Jerry did not fully appreciate his addiction and found himself evicted from another apartment, and back at Haven for Hope for the second time.
This time at Haven for Hope, a 12-step program helped him address his addiction. Jerry worked hard to save money and vowed that he would not return to Haven for Hope as a client ever again. Today, Jerry works as a security supervisor at the San Antonio Library. Since the library closed, due to the COVID-19 crisis, he needed to find a temporary job. He is now working security at the hotel secured to house some 300 Haven for Hope clients. Jerry readily shares his story and lessons learned with clients at the hotel, along with words of encouragement.
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Running the Road to Recovery
Rudy Meza, arrived on the Haven for Hope campus in June of 2018. He entered the Center for Healthcare Services’ Integrated Treatment Program (ITP), offered on the Haven for Hope campus to work through issues with trauma and drug addiction. Addiction caused rifts with his mother, Kim, and three sisters, Mirna, Noemi and Lizette. Now Rudy is part of Next Right Steps (NRS). NRS is a sober living program provided on the Haven for Hope campus by the non-profit Pay it Forward and this is where Rudy currently lives while working on his recovery. Rudy initially joined the Street2Feet program because of his competitive nature. Soon after entering the training program, the competitive aspect became secondary to the therapeutic benefits he received. Spurred on by encouragement from the Street2Feet community, running became the cornerstone of his recovery. Discipline, setting reasonable goals, and putting one foot in front of the other, even when unmotivated to do so, bolstered his efforts to be a better man.
As Rudy put it, “nobody comes to Haven on a winning streak,” but having reinvented himself through running and becoming “more than he thought he could be,” he is sharing the secret of his success with peers in the NRS program. Where new faces might lack self-confidence, he is providing support and encouragement, just as the Street2Feet community did for him. Rudy now works in a customer service role which has given him skills he can use in many roles. This employment opportunity also offers Rudy the resources to manage finances and will eventually assist him transitioning off-campus.
After only 6 months of training, he completed the 2018 San Antonio Rock’n’Roll half-marathon. Rudy is especially proud to have reunited with his family and baby sister, Lizette, who crossed the finish line with him. Rudy’s story highlights how collaboration with partners helps Haven for Hope clients transform their lives.