Without Gateway, I would not be employed, live in a place of my own, or have new friends and possibilities. Before I found out about Gateway, I was living in Clemson in an apartment behind the Esso with some roommates. I lived there because I worked for a cleaning company on campus called ServiceMaster for 11 years. I was let go from my job, had to move out of my apartment, and felt like I lost my friends. Clemson had been a big part of my life. With that chapter coming to an end, I didn’t know a new one was beginning. During the year that I lived with my parents in Greenville, I realized that I wanted to be more involved with the community, but I felt like the end was coming I felt like I had lost my anchor to the world through losing touch with my friends. I felt like I was not good enough because I had lost my job. I had lost my independence by losing my apartment. I was really depressed and stressed out.
Hope found me. A family connection introduced me to Gateway. It was scary at first. I was nervous about finding my place in the Gateway world. I faced my fear of starting a new chapter of life by wanting independence more. I got an apartment through Gateway in the historic district and it allows me to walk anywhere I want which is what I used to do in Clemson. I am employed again through the Clubhouse’s unique Transitional Employment Program. It gives me independence and spending money. It gives me a sense of belonging and my identity as a driven, hard-working person back. I have always worked and it’s a part of me. I have gained new friends. It feels awesome to come to a place every day where I am known. People know my name, my talents, my interests, and what I want to do with my life. Clubhouse is a place where you can let go of your anger and sadness and people care about you. You can let go of all of your emotions and know that you are ok.
It is somewhere where you can find friends who are like you. You can relate to people who are in the community and have the same thing that I do. With this kind of community, you can achieve life goals. Stewy signing off – a working, independent individual.