Marshall #BeforeTheBell

September 12, 2017

Marshall - CE Q & A

Established in 1991, Chrysalis Enterprises provides a transitional jobs program to clients who face the greatest barriers to employment. Transitional employment offers our clients the opportunity to gain real-world skills, build confidence, earn a paycheck, and develop the experience needed to find and retain long-term employment. Clients working a transitional job are in an important stage of their individual transformation, which is highlighted in the interview below:

We recently sat down for a Q&A with Marshall, a Chrysalis client working a transitional job providing street maintenance to L.A.’s Historic Core. Marshall had been unstably employed for 20 years before coming to Chrysalis, unable to secure employment due to his criminal history and struggle with substance abuse. Today, Marshall is proud to excel as part of the Chrysalis Works team as he searches for outside employment.

Chrysalis: What brought you to Chrysalis?

Marshall: I first heard of Chrysalis through the Amity Foundation, it’s a halfway house with transitional housing for guys who are experiencing re-entry from being incarcerated. I went to Chrysalis in Santa Monica, but I didn’t complete the program the first time around.

Chrysalis: What made you come back to Chrysalis?

Marshall: I relapsed [and] I was like, “I need to do something” and Chrysalis is an agency that can provide jobs among other opportunities for people. I said, “I’m going to do whatever these people tell me.” I went and finished my classes, I met with my Employment Specialist, and here I am. Almost a year later, I work in the Historic District, and next month I’ll celebrate one year clean. I am so happy because I’ve been in my addiction for 29 years, and with Chrysalis, I’ve been able to have a guiding hand every step of the way that has supported me.

Chrysalis: What do you like about your transitional job?

Marshall: I sincerely love to help people. And even street sweeping with Chrysalis I can help people. I say ‘Good Morning’ to people. If there’s somebody who needs directions, I offer them my assistance. The thing that I’ve enjoyed the most is helping a senior citizen cross the street. I am just so happy to have the opportunity to help somebody. And this job helps me do that.

Chrysalis: What kind of job are you looking for?

Marshall: I’m working toward becoming a peer support specialist for people experiencing homelessness or women in a domestic violence situation.

Chrysalis: Do you have a mantra or favorite inspirational quote?

Marshall: Grace, love, and mercy. Inspiration, motivation, and courage. Those are the words I say to myself throughout the day, because there are so many things in the past that I have used as excuses, justifications, rationalizations to prevent myself from living in the moment, and living in the moment is a miracle.

Chrysalis: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your journey?

Marshall: I think Chrysalis is great. I am amazed. I used to get in my head about how I look from the outside. “I’m a felon, I’m a crackhead, I’m LGBTQ, I’m black…” You get labeled so many things. But I’m a person. I’m a human being. I have a right to live. I have a right to love. I have a right to be who I am without judgment, without criticism. My thing is to anybody that’s wondering while they wander in life, there is love. And that love comes in so many different shapes, forms and actions.

Chrysalis: Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

Marshall - CE Q & A


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