Jayson #SuccessBells

November 7, 2017

Jayson grew up in a military and law enforcement family. As a young man, Jayson believed he could benefit from the discipline he would learn while serving, so after high school, he enlisted.

For Jayson, the army instilled in him the importance of staying committed – something that he would value after being honorably discharged and deciding to become a police officer. But when he was faced with his second divorce, Jayson’s world spiraled out of control. A substance abuse problem he had battled for years consumed his last paycheck, and he found himself unable to pay rent and facing life on the street.

Jayson lived behind his addiction without a stable place to rest for 17 years.

In 2016, Jayson secured temporary housing with the VA where he first learned about Chrysalis. Initially he came to the Downtown center for a bagged lunch, but as Jayson sat through orientation, he decided that the idea of being able to purchase his own meal sounded a lot more appealing. “I realized I had so much to learn,” he recalls.

Embracing his abilities and skills, Jayson decided to take Chrysalis’ job preparation program seriously.

Jayson’s educational background made him a good candidate for Chrysalis Staffing, one of our three social enterprise businesses. Through this program, Jayson landed a temporary job with Skid Row Housing Trust where he learned the importance of punctuality on the job, improved his communication skills with his teammates, and built his confidence. The opportunity was a breath of fresh air – Jayson finally had something to commit himself to again. However, despite his desire to get back on his feet, he continued to privately struggle with substance abuse. He admits, “I wasn’t willing to give up drugs yet.”

Our transitional jobs program is effective for individuals who may not be prepared to retain outside employment on their own. It is place where clients receive constructive feedback and improve their soft skills. After going to his supervisor with the truth about his continued drug use, Jayson was suspended for 30 days and asked to complete a drug treatment plan. This safety net allowed Jayson to get clean and prepare himself to return to work. “Chrysalis is a place for second chances. If it wasn’t for Chrysalis,” Jayson shares, “I would never have overcome my addiction.”

Motivated by the mantra “you get what you put in,” Jayson returned to our program sober and more determined than ever to stay on the right path. Eventually, he landed a temporary assignment at 121C Boards, a startup business repurposing carbon fiber scraps from the aerospace industry that would otherwise be thrown away to build state-of-the-art skateboards. Just two weeks after accepting the position, Jayson was promoted to Production Technician and later hired on permanently!

Jayson’s smile is infectious as he moves around the warehouse explaining the production process. He is relaxed and in his element at 121C, where “coming to work doesn’t even feel like coming to work. We’re like family,” Jayson says.

121C’s Founder, Ryan Olliges, told Chrysalis how impressed he has been with Jayson’s ambition and knack for learning to use the machinery. Since bringing Jayson to the team in early 2017, the aerospace engineering graduate and his co-founders have hired a second Chrysalis client to join them – changing lives through jobs, minimizing carbon fiber waste, and creating boards that are out of this world.

In his free time, Jayson is busy with school as he works to obtain his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Long-term, he hopes to serve those who are living on the streets by providing mental health counseling at his own practice. “If I can get off the street, then I can help someone else who is still there.”

Much like the upcycling of materials that happens at 121C, Jayson was transformed by the opportunity to start again. He is proud to be committed to his work, his education, his sobriety, and his passion for serving others. Best of all, he is proud to be a reliable son. “I got the trust of my family back,” he shares. Jayson looks forward to spending the Thanksgiving holiday with his mother and continuing to find his purpose in each and every day…and it all started with a job.


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