At the beginning of December, we introduced you to Steven Scott, a former guest and new Guest Support Staff member, who shared his experience through the COVID pandemic. While he experienced some of the lowest days of his life, he found a community of support that lifted him up, even as our community was grappling with the pandemic.

This blog is an update on Steven’s story, originally called “From Darkness to Light,” that is now called “Shining a Light.” Steven is not only focused on the light coming into his life now but on shining a light for others.

On February 20, Steven left his position with St. John’s for a full-time benefitted position as the Custodian at St. Bernard Parish. For him a position like this is a dream come true. He is doing what he went to school for, working full-time and has benefits with retirement. Steven hasn’t worked full-time since 2016, and he first came to St. John’s in 2018. He says, “This means that I’m grown up and that means a lot.” Working at St. John’s, he says, helped prepare him to handle this full-time position and to be in the workforce. He says, “It was a blessing to be a staff at St. John’s and to be a worker to shine a light at men’s and women’s shelters this season.”

“It is scary stuff to start out.” Steven reflects on his rising rent and losing his food share program, but says that in the long run, he will be more successful in his new position. Steven credits Senior Case Manager Eugene Smalls with helping to keep him on the right track and to learn to budget and manage life issues as they come. “Eugene taught me the most. He taught me to make sure rent and utilities come first and to do monthly budgeting at the beginning of each month.” Steven has just enrolled in the David Ramsey “Financial Peace” course through Green Bay First.

The one thing St. John’s helped him to know is that sometimes things will come up and to be prepared for the unexpected. So, Steven focuses on his resources: his church, his girlfriend, his recovery group and his family and friends. He and his girlfriend have developed a strong relationship, and Steven also attends regular recovery meetings at the Micah Center. Then, there’s his “new addition,” a spunky cat named Lightning!

A bright light in his life is his daughter who just turned nine. “She’s proud of how far I’ve come,” he says. Just before this post was published, Steven found out that she’s moving from Texas to Minnesota and will be closer to him now. He’s looking forward to planning a visit soon.

“I feel like I did a 100% turn around from where I was during COVID,” he says. You can even see his physical transformation. In the beginning of the first blog his goal was to lose weight, and he went from 295 to 265 pounds now.

As Steven looks forward, he has advice to share, “Never give up your dream. Keep on going. There’s always a chance for everything. You’re never too old…to go back to school, to do anything or try something new.”