In 2011, Calvin White, Sr.’s world fell apart. His marriage to the woman he loved since junior high school ended and he lost the tip of his index finger during an accident at work. Calvin became severely depressed, and fell back into his old habit – drug use.
Though he had been clean for 12 years, Calvin said he saw drugs as his only solution to ease the pain he felt. Returning to this destructive lifestyle caused Calvin to lose his job. He spent the summer living out of his car.
“I was getting to the point of trying to run from the world,” he said. Calvin eventually turned to selling drugs and, “On Dec. 3 , I accepted drugs from a person who I thought was a friend.”
Exactly one week later, Calvin found himself in jail.
Getting arrested turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to him. In prison, Calvin returned to the basics. He began reading more, became more religious and no longer felt the need to use drugs. His court date was postponed on three separate occasions, but Calvin saw this as a blessing. It was also a sign that he was not yet ready to return to the streets.
“Every time the date was postponed, it didn’t bother me,” Calvin said. “I grew a lot during that time [in jail].”
After 4 ½ months of incarceration, Calvin was released and ready to begin a new life.
A family friend found him a place to live; a space that he shared with other men. He joined a two-week recovery program, but felt it wasn’t the right fit. While at home, Calvin overheard one of his roommates speak of the Franciscan Center. At the time, he didn’t think much of it.
A few weeks later, Calvin heard the Franciscan Center mentioned again. A man sitting near him on the bus spoke of the services the Center provides.
“He ran down a list of services and it was unbelievable,” Calvin said. A few weeks later, Calvin stopped by the Franciscan Center and described it as being, “a blessing ever since.”
He met with Debbie Reigle, who serves as Technical Resource Coordinator at the Franciscan Center. Debbie assisted him with job counseling, which included creating his resume and applying for jobs online. Calvin also received clothing through the Center’s Attire 4 Hire program, which supplies men with free professional clothing to wear on a job interview or other formal events.
Within a couple of months, Coppin State University hired Calvin as a Floor Tech.
The biggest difference between the Franciscan Center and other organizations, Calvin explained, is that everything offered to him has been delivered.
“Other places haven’t followed through on their services,” Calvin said, noting he felt that the staff and volunteers at the Franciscan Center cared about his overall well-being. “I really consider Ms. Debbie a friend. It feels good when someone wants to know how you’re doing. It wasn’t a business structure and that’s one of the biggest things that attracted me here.”
In the short term, Calvin plans to work hard and get caught up on his bills. Eventually, he wants to live on his own and spend more time with his son. For now though, his plan is simple – keep moving forward.
“I’ve been through a little something and I want people to see that there’s help regardless,” Calvin explained. “And especially when you think no one’s in your corner, there are people – here.”