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FEBRUARY 2024: Colin

Colin is a Reentry Program member who joined the program in the Fall of 2022. Since then, he’s grown exponentially. Colin talks about regaining his sense of purpose and forming deep and meaningful relationships with staff and program members alike. Colin is preparing to graduate this April. Before he finishes, he wanted to share part of his story with you.

My parents instilled strong morals and values in me at a young age. Growing up in Point Loma, I was the “popular” surfer guy, very athletic. Everything was smooth sailing until I got into a serious bike accident at 16 years old. The severity of the accident led to me being in a coma for two weeks. 

This accident was a pivotal point in my life. Upon waking from the coma, I had serious brain damage, I lost all of my muscle mass and weighed 113 pounds. I completely lost any sense of who I was. The doctor said that I could have a seizure and die at any moment. This triggered my new life motto of living for the moment regardless of the consequences. As I started to make poor choices, I began to attract negative influences. Eventually, this led to my incarceration. 

Going to jail was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. This was another pivotal moment in my life. I realized while in prison that I had enough of doing the things I was doing. I got sober while incarcerated. I decided that moving forward, I wanted to be a consistent person. Once released, I had a couple of years of sobriety under my belt but I enrolled in a rehab program anyway at the request of my parole officer. One day another man in the program was going on and on about how cool this program at Rise Up Industries was. I decided that once I finished the rehab program, I was going to join. 

At first, I joined the Reentry Program just as a means to an end. But over time, I’ve realized how much this program has changed my life. Being a part of Rise Up helped me connect back to a piece of myself I thought I had lost in that bike accident. Something unique about Rise Up is that they actually care about your personal wellbeing. Being at Rise Up has built my self-confidence. Since I am going to graduate from the program soon, I have been taking part in job interviews. I feel confident in all that I have learned. This helps me feel good about asking for the wage I deserve instead of just accepting whatever is offered to me.

If you would look back at the person I was before starting this program, I have completely changed. I am in my third semester at City College, I have raised my credit score 200 points, and I already have a full-time job offer before even graduating. I am so thankful to have been a part of this program.