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“The people in life that glow are the people that are always helping someone else. You can see how special they are. I'm trying to be that. But it's not about me being better than anyone else. It's about the people who need the help now that I needed then.”

— Tim, Back on My Feet Alum

From Homelessness in Dallas to Paying it Forward in Boston

In the bustling city of Boston, amidst the rhythmic pounding of running shoes against the pavement, Tim’s story echoes as a testament to the transformative power of Back on My Feet. In an exclusive interview, Tim, a Back on My Feet alum, shared his incredible journey from homelessness to a life of purpose, success, and unwavering commitment to giving back.

Tim’s connection with Back on My Feet began in Dallas, where volunteers witnessed his first college class at the age of 55 while he was homeless in the Salvation Army’s veteran program. Four years later, he proudly graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. Tim’s journey took him to New York, where he secured a job as an engineer before landing another position at Raytheon in Boston. Today, he runs with Team Hope and continues to participate in races, including the Dallas Half Marathon in December 2022.

Reflecting on his remarkable transformation, Tim shared, “I came full circle all the way through Back on My Feet, and that’s why I volunteer now.” From being a client to an alum, team lead, and now a volunteer, Tim embodies the resilience and spirit that Back on My Feet instills in its participants.

One of the key messages Tim emphasizes is challenging the stigmatization of homelessness. “People think it’s all about drugs and alcohol. What people need to know is that there are good people who just made a bad decision,” he said. Tim stresses that everyone makes mistakes, and the journey from homelessness to a six-figure income revealed to him that, fundamentally, we are all the same. “They’re all just people, and they all deserve help and support and love. Back on My Feet was always there to provide that.”

Tim attributes much of his success to the philosophy of starting the day with exercise, a principle ingrained in Back on My Feet’s approach. “It’s a great concept that you can accomplish anything in life if you start your day with exercise,” he stated. Tim still begins each day with a 5-mile run, remaining connected to Back on My Feet and volunteering whenever possible.

His commitment to helping others stems from the support he received during his own journey. “People helped me and gave me a hand up. I’m in recovery. It’s addiction that got me into that situation. In recovery, the 12 steps are about helping others,” Tim explained. He emphasizes the transformative power of being someone who constantly helps others, stating, “The people in life that glow are the people that are always helping someone else. I’m trying to be that. I’m so much further along than I used to be.”

Despite the challenges, including relapses during college, Tim graduated at the age of 59, proving that with determination and the right support, anyone can overcome obstacles. He encourages others not to give in to fear, especially in pursuing math and science, saying, “If I can do that, anyone can do it. What a great way to change the whole culture of your life.”

Tim’s story illustrates that the support of organizations like Back on My Feet can bring about profound change. As he drives his BMW through the streets of Boston, Tim remains grounded in his commitment to giving back, reminding us all that success is not just about personal achievement but lifting others up on the journey to a better life. Inspired by Tim’s journey, let’s come together and make a difference through Back on My Feet, because, as Tim passionately puts it, “If we’re not reaching out to help people who are homeless, what are we even here for?”

See how you can combat homelessness with us today.

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