Valerio Pillado enrolled in Breaking Barriers San Diego in 2016. Here is his story in his own words.
Before I came to Breaking Barriers San Diego, I was having a lot of problems finding and keeping a job. I was working with a few staffing agencies and I was going from job to job. My counselor wanted me to find something steady that could offer me benefits and a growth opportunity but no matter how much I tried, I was not getting any offers. At the same time, I was working on making sure I did not fall back on some of my bad habits. My girlfriend was on me about bills and providing help at home. I was falling behind on rent and bills. I had pressure from my program to get my job situation under control and working my 32–40 hours.
I heard about BBSD at a presentation provided at the clubhouse I attend. It was interesting but I had heard of these programs before. The one thing that made it interesting was that it was a lottery. I was one of several applicants. I noticed that a few of the people that did get in started getting help right away and they also called me a few times to make sure I got in the paperwork I needed. It made me feel like I was important to them.
All the BBSD staff were very supportive and encouraged me to put in all my effort. They even started talking to me about job opportunities they can help me apply to. It made me realize that I had found a place that really cared about helping me and not just sending me out on my own.
The program kept me motivated by not giving up on me and not letting me get lost. There was a short time when I was not available to communicate with them but they did not give up. My case manager would call me all the time and tell me about job opportunities that I may like. She always followed up with me and went out of her way to help me and keep me in the loop. It was really nice that when I came in to the office everyone was able to help me.
They helped me put together a good résumé and they helped me follow up with employers once I interviewed. It took some time and a few jobs but I finally found a place that is giving me a challenging work environment and a career path.
My current life situation is much better. I have a full-time job that provides me a steady income that I can rely on. I am able to pay my rent and I am now up to date with most of the bills. My counselor at the clubhouse is very happy with my progress and stability. This employer has given me the opportunity to go back to school and get more education and better my chances of getting more money. I know I have lot of work to do and I feel that I am better prepared and with the help of the BBSD program I know I don't have to do it on my own.
My plans are to work as many hours as I am able to. The company has offered to send me to school to help me get an apprentice training and to help me become a journeyman. I think that if I keep working and doing my best I will be able to go far with this company, and maybe later, once I have finished my program I can make more long-term plans. For now, it’s just keeping myself busy and making sure I am focused on my life and staying sober.