Why I’m Pleased to Work at Project PLASE

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This story is an example of why I’m so pleased to work at Project PLASE.  Until two years ago, I lived in Charles Village, two doors up from someone named Mike.  The second day after starting to work here – last September – I ran into Mike in our hallway at PLASE, because he had come to apply for help from SSVF.  SSVF found him a place to stay very quickly, and he was pleased.  Now, a few months later, he has moved to another place nearby – and he persuaded his new landlord to get in touch with PLASE in order to get more tenants.  Mike came into PLASE yesterday and stopped by to say hello to me.  He told me that he has recommended PLASE to some other friends who need help and that the staff here are really nice and always treat him with respect.  I thought you’d like to know!

 

Barbara Larcom

Co-executive administrative assistant – part time

A Leader Finds His PLASE

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Larry was born and raised in Baltimore but was shuffled off to foster care at a young age to escape an abusive home. In the early 1980s, he contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at a hospital but was able to manage his disease. Larry overcame his troubled youth and settled into a good career in management. Larry’s career was put to a halt when he badly hurt his leg during a home accident. During a week stay at the hospital, Larry contracted an infection which caused him to lose his left leg, finger, and the shin bones in his right leg. After this traumatic event and a 17 month stay in the hospital, Larry was left without his livelihood, his home, and $1 million in medical bills. Larry, wheelchair bound, journeyed from an emergency shelter to a space at PLASE’s transitional facility with the support of a case manager.

Once he felt safe and stable, things really turned around for Larry.

Despite all he had been through, Larry instantly started reaching out to PLASE staff, volunteers, and other clients. Through these relationships, he became a member of PLASE’s Client Advisory Board (CAB) where his leadership and interpersonal skills bloomed. From the CAB, Larry took off! He completed the Taylor-Wilks Group’s Leadership Empowerment and Advocacy Program (LEAP) with honors and became involved in other community advocacy organizations like Jacques Initiative, Hope Springs, and Journey.

Larry believes in the power of advocacy. He backs this belief by offering himself up as an example: “before all this [the things he has gone through], my world was me, and I would have never told anyone about [my troubles], but it all changed when I learned how important it is to speak out—that is how things change.” His goals include becoming a counselor for people living with HIV/AIDS, teaching Personal Self-Management, obtaining permanent housing, and focusing on his medical needs (prosthesis, teeth, etc.).

Night of Monologues: More Success Stories on YouTube!

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Night of Monologues“For me, the Night of Monologues represented bravery, honesty and most of all, integrity: gifts from the soul” expressed Harriet Cooper, an audience member at PLASE’s first Night of Monologues. PLASE hosted an evening of monologues at the Strand Theater in May, 2011 to give our courageous clients an opportunity to share their honest and heartfelt stories of homelessness and more importantly, of hope. Audience members were touched by the stories of raw emotion.

The monologues and excerpts from the evening can be found on the PLASE YouTube channel. Please check out the inspirational monologues!

Want to host a PLASE speaker at your school or work? Contact our Community Projects Coordinator at 410-837-1400 X 136.