Frank credits his family for his happiness today. “I’ve always had a loving and supportive family that cared about me. I’ve been with my wife for almost 40 years, I have three kids, six grandkids and another on the way,” he boasts. “I want my grandkids to look up to me. But before Growing Home, my thinking was off.”
Frank spent most of his adult life oscillating between jobs in warehousing, manufacturing, and custodial work. “I held down jobs,” Frank says, “But I still always sold drugs. I was 15 when I started selling drugs. I loved the streets and the fast money that came with it. I didn’t have to sit around and wait for my next paycheck because I had that paycheck in my pocket.”
“I made the choices that kept me in and out of county jail and locked up 3 separate times,” Frank recounts. “I knew I could’ve done better.” In 2013, after avoiding prison for 14 years, Frank was charged with his third drug-related felony and sentenced to two years.
“That was the sign I needed to make a change,” Frank says. “I said to myself, I need to be in my kids’ lives. That’s my responsibility. Kids should see someone wake up every day and work hard and I wanted to do that. I had to do better for my family.”
After being released in late 2014 Frank started his first job training program, but it didn’t provide the experience he hoped for. “I wasn’t really feeling like I was accomplishing my goals,” he said. Then he saw a presentation about Growing Home, and knew it was the program he was looking for.
Frank enrolled in Growing Home’s program in March of 2015, ready and motivated. “This place was a blessing,” Frank says, “Growing Home helped me put it all together. I had been working my entire life, but they helped me to organize those skills and present them. They really care about you and they want you succeed.”
While at Growing Home, Frank also enrolled in GED classes at Kennedy King College and researched what it would take to get his driver’s license reinstated. “I always had the drive to better myself, but Growing Home gave me the tools and really brought it out of me. I had perfect scores on all of my Growing Home progress reports and I’m proud of that.”
After graduation, Frank worked at FarmedHere for six months before looking for another position. “I started at Local Foods on September 29th, 2015 and within six months they offered me a salary and a raise,” Frank says. “I’ve been there ever since. I show up a half hour early every day, and I outwork all the younger guys.”
Frank is proud to be supporting his wife now, and to be playing a bigger role in his kids’ and grandkids’ lives. “Every time my mom sees me, she says, ‘You look good.’ She’s proud of me. Everyone is,” says Frank. “I want my kids to know if they ever heard something bad about me, they can say, ‘well, look at him now.’”
“Without Growing Home, I don’t think I would be in the position that I’m at. I’m happy now. And my journey isn’t over.”