Black is manager at the Father Joe’s Villages Thrift Store in Hillcrest and lives in Chula Vista.

My Father Joe’s Villages story actually begins with my mother about 16 years ago. She was a single parent who got back on her feet after drug and alcohol use. After she became pregnant with the youngest of my three siblings, she came to the realization she needed to get clean. With the help of Father Joe’s Villages, she was able to find the right program to help her get back up again.

The four of us stayed in a room in the Villages where we were able to access all kinds of services. It felt overwhelming and scary at the time. I was just a teenager. I remember always feeling cautious because it was a new environment with new people everywhere, and trust needed to be built. When the trust came, every day felt fun and adventurous. Visit the link below to read the full essay.

Opinion: I went from staying at Father Joe’s to working for them – The San Diego Union-Tribune (