Mark K. – Participant

“It may not be at a fast pace, but I’m inspired to keep moving forward.”

I was released from prison July 2015. When released I moved into the shelter. I had no family here and had to be here because of probation. I was unable to work and sat around at the park day after day wondering what I’m going to do with my life. I met with a counselor in September from the Howard Center. She introduced me to Mercy Connections. Once I came here, that first day, the energy felt like home. I started taking all the classes, talking with the facilitator, and educating myself.

I got my confidence back. The biggest thing that came back was public speaking.

Dolly inspired me to speak more eloquently – speaking to the board, then on a TV show, then the May
Luncheon. The staff pushes me to be who I am. Because the real me came out, I spoke for COTS. I started
playing guitar. What they’re doing is keeping me moving forward. It may not be at a fast pace, but I’m inspired to keep moving forward. Now I’m coordinating meetings. Mercy Connections taught me to give back. Full circle, in the spiritual sense.

If someone asks me why I’m involved with Mercy Connections, I say, “Because it makes you a better person.” It’s the people running the organization – making a difference. Makes me want to help and give back to others. I’m inspired to learn more and do more. I’m ready for college.

Mark is now gainfully employed for the first time in years and continues to find opportunities for growth.