[ezcol_1quarter] “Just because I don’t have a job, doesn’t mean I can’t give back.” – Keith [/ezcol_1quarter][ezcol_3quarter_end]
Keith is an extraordinary Centennial Place resident. He also volunteers for Union Station Homeless Services. Recently, Keith participated in our Rockin’ for the Homeless 5k Run/Walk and took on the 3.1 mile course with his wheelchair.
“Anything I can do to bring awareness about homelessness is great,” Keith says about his experience in the 5k. At a young age, Keith suffered from a case of Meningitis, causing mild cerebral palsy that affected his motor development and coordination. With a limited range of mobility, Keith requires the use of a wheelchair for extended periods of activity. That has not stopped him from being an active and vibrant member of the community.
Keith was living in Duarte with roommates when he was forced out of his apartment with less than two weeks’ notice. Soon after, he lost his administrative job at a local college and could not afford housing. He fell into a depression as he was living couch to couch among friends. Without a stable place to live, he turned to drugs and became addicted.
That’s when Keith came to Centennial Place, which offers permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless adults. At first, Keith admits he was upset about moving in. “It was the first time I had to live with just ME,” Keith says, “Get used to ‘Keith’.” It was there that he met the team with Union Station Homeless Services, which began to provide supportive services there 5 years ago.
As a longtime resident with Centennial Place, Keith experienced firsthand the difference Union Station made there. He is so grateful to the case workers and staff, saying the wrap around services gave him the support he needed and changed his perspective on life. Keith attributes his stay at Centennial Place as the reason for his involvement in the community.
He can be seen every Sunday at Union Station’s Adult Center, helping out in any way he can by washing dishes and volunteering in the kitchen. Keith is also an ASL translator at Union Station and other locations. He even started a weekly breakfast mixer called “Centennial Café” where he and the other Centennial Place residents gather every Friday to chat, catch up and build a community. “This is my form of service,” Keith comments. “Just because I don’t have a job, doesn’t mean I can’t give back.”