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"I feel like that's not even a job for me. It's just a way to give back to what was given to me freely."

— Emery, Back on My Feet San Francisco, Alum

How Emery Discovered Community and Purpose

Life for Emery before Back on My Feet was a humbling experience, marked by his journey through residential rehab for alcohol and drug use. Unemployed and searching for resources, Emery was eager to re-enter the world, find employment, and rebuild his life. His introduction to Back on My Feet came through a friend at the ARA in San Francisco, who had successfully completed the program.

Emery shared, “I was willing to accept any type of help I could get. I needed to be exposed to a good environment and people who were doing healthy activities.”

Discovering a New Community and Purpose

Emery found solace in the community that Back on My Feet provided. The early morning meet-ups with avid runners motivated him to continue. “People who ran on a consistent basis had a healthy lifestyle, and that’s what drew me to Back on My Feet,” Emery remarked. “Some of the people who have gone through the program are my friends now and we work out together.”

The workshops on apartment and job finding, financial literacy, and networking became invaluable resources for Emery. The support he received from Back on My Feet not only helped him secure employment but also provided crucial information about housing programs in San Francisco.

Regaining Confidence and Career

From struggling with confidence and doubting his ability to re-enter his field, Emery now proudly holds not one, but two jobs. His first job, as an evaluator for the Native American Health Center, is a career he thought he would never reclaim after battling alcoholism and addiction.

Reflecting on his achievements, Emery shared, “I’ve seen a lot of growth in my confidence being restored. I’m much healthier. I’m planning and executing on a lot of my goals.”

Giving Back and Running Towards Success

Emery’s involvement with Back on My Feet extended beyond running. He now works part-time as a house manager at Friendship House, a residential facility where he successfully completed a rehabilitation program. This role allows him to give back to others struggling with addiction and alcoholism.

“I feel like that’s not even a job for me. It’s just a way to give back to what was given to me freely,” Emery expressed.

The Power of Networking and Community

Back on My Feet provided Emery with a valuable network of individuals who shared similar struggles and triumphs. The friendships formed through the program have become essential to Emery’s support system. The volunteers and fellow members, whether ahead in their journeys or facing similar challenges, have created a community that Emery finds inspiring.

A City Asleep, but We Were Running

Emery fondly remembers a holiday meetup during Christmas when the city seemed asleep. Despite the cold and rain, the runners, volunteers, and members came together, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. “The Christmas tree was a great visual. We did our cheer, our check-in, our run, our cheer at the end. It seemed like the city was sleeping, yet we were there,” Emery recalled.

Looking Forward and Encouraging Others

As Emery continues his journey, he serves as a role model for others in the program. He encourages new members to start running, recognizing the positive impact it had on his life.

Emery’s story is a testament to the transformative power of Back on My Feet. If you’re inspired by his journey and want to make a difference in the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness, consider getting involved with Back on My Feet. Whether through volunteering, participating in runs, or providing support, your contribution can be a stepping stone toward positive change.

See how you can combat homelessness with us today.