Faces of St. Francis House: Meet Susan

By the time Susan Brown Graduated from the Moving Ahead Program (MAP) on December 16th, 2022, she already found employment in the medical field.

Now, she is training to become a full time Medical Assistant at Convenient MD—which is opening a new location in Saugus early this year—while also picking up shifts as a visiting nurse.

Initially, Brown experienced difficulty finding employment and was held back by her CORI, but, encouraged by her MAP Instructor Lisa Joseph, she persevered through these challenges and found a job she was excited about with Convenient MD.

“It felt awesome,” Brown said. “They’re a great team of people to work for and they’re actually community based. They believe in giving back.”

The community-based nature of Convenient MD and the positive impact it will provide when they open in Saugus was a big part of what made Brown excited about the position.

“I did do some jail time, and for myself it’s important to pay back. You know, I try to help people that have gotten out of the system. It’s a very difficult challenge to come out on your own and to be put in a sober house and not know anybody,” Brown said.

After serving 5 years, Brown was apprehensive at first about returning to the medical field.
“I never pushed myself enough because I was always afraid to get no for an answer,” Brown said. “And I have gotten ‘no,’ I won’t say I haven’t. But Lisa showed me how to overcome that.”

Brown believes MAP helped refine her resume and build the confidence she needed to pursue her career goals. But to her, success through MAP ultimately comes from within each person. MAP provides tools for success but it’s up to individuals to stay motivated and implement those tools.

As she works on her training at Convenient MD, Brown continues to stay motivated. She regularly works three, twelve-hour shifts as week for her training and still picks up per diem work.

“I’m not going to lie; it’s been challenging at times. Convenient MD packs in a lot of training. You know, you gotta keep doing it in order to learn it. [But] it’s a very warm environment to work. In the training I’ve experienced, there’s been no one that’s not helpful.” Brown said.

All the while, she is searching for new housing with support from St. Francis House and other organizations; feeling ready to move on from communal housing.

Reflecting on the accomplishments she has made in recent months, Susan expressed gratitude for the St. Francis House staff who believed in her while she participated in MAP.

“Lisa, my instructor, was my inspiration—she gave me the self-confidence that I needed. I was so blessed to have her in my life. And Terry always helped me. And Regina is a wonderful woman. They became my little family,” Brown said.