The goal of the Cambridge Academies Restart program offered at H.O.S.T. House is to give those who need it an opportunity to get back on track in life, positioned to be as successful as possible. What that success might look like will vary with each student, but all who take advantage of the assistance, tools and knowledge provided by the program and put them to work in their lives will be immeasurably better off.
There can be no greater blessing for someone whose future seems hopeless than the chance to start over, and with help to remove or lessen any obstacles in the way.
Out of the blue, one of our students recently asked, “What do you think I deserve?” A brave question for anyone, and particularly for someone who has made questionable choices in the past.
The simple answer: A chance to find out your potential. That’s our goal for all of our students. It’s also what each of us came to this life to do. The more of us that happens for, the better a place the world will be.
The Restart program students have been doing projects around H.O.S.T. House, and recently laid the first leg of a garden path using part of a large pile of pavers that were in the backyard. We didn’t have enough material to reach from the front gate to the back door, but we covered a pretty good stretch toward the back fence.
We didn’t get to do the fancy pattern with inlaid glass that we originally envisioned, but the flatwork isn’t finished yet, either. We decided to go what seemed a reasonable distance from the front gate, taking on faith that the concept and materials for the next phase will come to us at the right moment.
While it might not be visible on the surface, faith is a huge component of the work we do through the Restart program. It’s gotten us to this point, with a building in operation (courtesy of the City of Patterson and the H.O.S.T. House board) and another soon to be completed so that we can shelter and serve local homeless women, as well.
The involvement of a higher power is what allows lives to change from seemingly hopeless to hopeful.
Corey Bernard, who has just completed the program, had the most construction-related experience and skill, and so ended up directing the path project. He has also been helping with the construction on Naomi’s House, and has experience doing flooring projects – most recently the floor replacement project at The Gathering at PCC, where the Church Without Walls is currently operating a food pantry.
We’re very proud of all of our Restart students and their accomplishments, and Corey is no exception. He has recently moved out of H.O.S.T. House and into transitional housing. He also just bought himself a truck.
He needs it for the flooring business he’s starting. His work is already in demand.
Corey has made a lot of changes in his life since he started in the Restart program, but it all boils down to one thing: he changed his mindset. He recognized that he didn’t want to live in the future the way he has lived in the past, and, using the tools and knowledge gained in the program, decided to consciously change his approach to life.
That change inspired him to work through challenges, change thinking habits and work out solutions to issues that had been holding him back from reaching his potential – or even having a chance to. The program provided the opportunity; Corey applied the willpower and determination. And he’s now become independent again, proud of what he’s accomplished, and focused on moving forward.
“(The Restart program at) H.O.S.T. House and recovery is what you make it,” he said. “This place is breathing room to get your mind and life straight. You have to put in the work yourself to change things in your life.” The program, he said, “gives you the opportunity, tools and wisdom to do that.
“Life for me was hopeless and seemingly unfixable. I wanted what I had (before), and worked very hard to obtain it all back.”
Now, he added, “I want something more.”
“My future looks bright.”