Benny Tompkins’ story is not an unfamiliar one. A few poor choices this week, a couple of bad decisions the next week, and suddenly life is a battle. Benny, a former accountant and auditor, knows how dark life can be when you go down the wrong path.
Benny’s battle with substance abuse took many things from his life. It took away his ability to work and earn a good living. It took away his home and vehicle. It took away his ability to build and maintain healthy relationships with family and friends. It took away his hopes and dreams for a once bright future. Eventually, Benny says he realized he was in a bad place, “I just got tired of being sick and tired.”
In late 2015 Benny made a really good decision. He decided that months of living in his car alone was more than enough. Benny sought help at ChristNet Services – a rotating shelter made up of churches whose mission is serving the homeless. The staff at ChristNet brought Benny to Wayne Metro’s Employment and Training Program and the good choices just kept coming.
Benny began attending Wayne Metro’s Coffee Clutch employment support group weekly, and worked with Wayne Metro staff to learn interviewing skills, how to find job resources, and receive help writing his resume. Benny received transportation to interviews and access to a phone, technology, and printing services to prepare for interviews. Benny worked hard, and through the program, learned that good choices lead to good outcomes.
Today Benny holds a position working 18 hours a week with Volunteers of America as a participant in AARP’s Senior Employment Program. Three days a week Benny walks two blocks from his Wayne Metro subsidized housing development on Visger Road to his work place. Benny is a proud resident of the City of River Rouge, the neighborhood he grew up in. Benny has had quite a journey and now has people in his life, a home, and many new hopes for the future.