Jim first came to the Jubilee Center in 1995. At the time, he was homeless with no job, no money and only the clothes on his back. He had been struggling for several years with mental illness and addictions. Back then he knew no one in Rockford, was fearful of people and found it difficult to establish trust. When Jim first started visiting the center he says, "The Jubilee Center workers welcomed me. It was nice because I had people I could talk to, and I felt accepted where I didn't anywhere else at that time. They made me feel more like a human being."
Jim started coming to the Jubilee Center on a daily basis to connect with other members and staff. He began attending AA meetings and started getting treatment for his mental health. He continues, "I said to myself: I have to change. No one is going to do this for me." The Jubilee staff and other area social service agencies supported him every step of his journey. He remembers that time as the start of a change in his thinking and seeing things more clearly. Eventually, Jim says, he began to accept and love himself, and that was the beginning of his new life.
Early on during his time at the Jubilee Center, Jim began volunteering to give back. He helped in the kitchen and also worked with the housing department to move donated furniture and clean apartments for Shelter Care's Housing Program. Today he continues to volunteer regularly at Shelter Care and says, "I volunteer not because I have to, but because I enjoy giving back and it makes me feel good."
Jim has been stably housed now for 10 years. He says happily, "Today I am blessed with good friends, the Jubilee Center, and my church. The Jubilee Center has always been a place of friendship, support and belonging for me. I am fortunate to have this resource in my life."