“Once I graduated, I applied for housing and got it. I was still exercising; I was 320, and now I’m down to 280. I decided to keep moving. I decided to go back to school and get my GED, which was a real challenge at age 57. I would like to become a drug counselor. That all started with my conversation with Bill. He started helping me to navigate about my next move and not to be content with where I was. To be like water and continue to flow. As long as you start moving, you can grow.”
Artemas, once homeless and battling addiction, found hope through Back on My Feet. His journey began at the Salvation Army, where a chance encounter with the Dallas team during their morning runs opened a new chapter in his life. When Artemas questioned his ability to participate in Circle Ups, Back on My Feet staff encouraged him to start with walking, leading him to discover the transformative power of physical exercise for both body and mind.
“The workshops were tremendous. I was computer illiterate. I didn’t know anything. What they taught me at the workshop prepared me to take classes online while I go to school.”
Workshops provided Artemas with essential skills, breaking barriers to employment and education. Having been in prison before, he lacked knowledge of resume building and computer usage. Artemas learned these skills, enabling him to pursue education and personal growth. Now, he’s on a path to becoming a drug counselor, using his past experiences to guide and inspire others.
“I’m not content with what society offers me. I’m only content if I’m putting in the work to receive the things that I want. You have to work for everything that you want. It’s good that people are willing to give you a hand, but I don’t look for a handout. I look for a hand up so I can help myself.”
Artemas’s transformation is not just physical; it’s a shift in mindset. Back on My Feet instills the value of self-help, teaching individuals to work for their goals. Artemas emphasizes the importance of personal effort, appreciating a ‘hand up’ rather than a ‘handout,’ a philosophy that empowers individuals to take control of their lives.
“They teach you how to help you help yourself.”
The pride in Artemas’s voice is evident when he talks about the relationships he’s built along his journey. These connections, fostered through Back on My Feet, are his greatest achievement. The support system extends beyond graduation, with volunteers continually offering assistance and encouragement.
“Be patient with yourself. Take things one day at a time. You’ll find the results will be worth it. It’s all about the final results.”
Artemas’s advice to new members echoes the core philosophy of Back on My Feet. Patience, perseverance, and a focus on the final results form the foundation of the program. His story serves as a testament to the transformative impact of Back on My Feet, an organization dedicated to not just running miles but also helping individuals run towards a brighter future.
“It’s the simple things in life that I’m happy.”
From being homeless to having his own apartment, paying his own bills, and pursuing education, Artemas finds happiness in life’s simple joys. His story is a beacon of hope, illustrating that with the right support and mindset, anyone can overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.
Back on My Feet continues to change lives, one step at a time, as individuals like Artemas embody the organization’s mission of empowering those experiencing homelessness to transform their lives through running and community support.