Jerome was born in Mobile, Alabama into a bustling household of nine siblings. Growing up in a spiritual atmosphere, he was surrounded by the guidance of his father and grandfather, both of whom were ministers in the local church. Singing hymns and immersing himself in the church community were integral parts of his upbringing, instilling a strong faith within him.
That faith wavered, however, when his journey took an unexpected turn. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck several years ago, his beloved brother fell gravely ill. Jerome left his life in Georgia behind to become his brother’s caretaker, leading him to Boston and, ultimately, to St. Francis House. It was amidst this trying period, in November 2022, that Jerome found himself sitting in our Resource Center, confiding in others for help for the first time – he had reached a breaking point after 35 years of suffering in silence.
A fellow guest mentioned our Room to Grow recovery program to Jerome, and the rest is history. Darren, Luz, and Jose, our recovery program leaders, all played an intricate part in his recovery, providing supportive services and compassionate care when he needed it most. “They truly care,” Jerome emphasized. “They want you to be better. They listen to you. There was somewhere to go where people looked like me.”
Our Moving Ahead Program (MAP) became another essential part of his journey to recovery. At 58 years old, he was one of the oldest members of his class, and this pushed him to act as a role model not only for his classmates but for himself. Reflecting on his time in the program, Jerome noted, “I don’t come down here every day, but my heart is here every day.” The love and gratitude he feels for these programs is palpable.
Sobriety has given Jerome a newfound sense of self-control. He no longer wants to hide any part of himself, fully living his truth. “Sobriety has given me another chance to be a better grandfather, to be a better person, to have stable living arrangements without messing it up,” he confessed. Jerome has come such a long way, from navigating addiction & homelessness to being in recovery, maintaining stable housing, and leading a productive, healthy life. Now, his focus is to continue down the path of healing and self-discovery – and St. Francis House will always be there for him.