Jim Paduch was a regular working guy for most of his life. Had a good paying job, a wife, family and friends. Then, during the 1980s Jim started using drugs. In order to live the drug life he began selling drugs, Jim spent ten years in the drug sub-culture.
However, as with almost any other job, you need to be able to see to do your job properly, eventually Jim realised that he couldn’t even see well enough to deal drugs. He had cataracts and was not making enough money to feed himself and his wife. “We were sleeping on the floor of a dingy old trailer with four other people. We began going to the Upper Room Mission because we needed to eat. “said Jim.
Once Jim started coming to the Upper Room Mission regularly, the staff offered him opportunities to volunteer around the place and they would provide him with food that he could take home for himself and the others he was living with. “I realised that life as a drug dealer was going nowhere and made the decision to quit that life.” Said Jim “The staff at the Upper Room Mission gave me purpose, and direction, and helped make the arrangements to get my cataracts fixed.” Bit by bit, he became a valuable volunteer, he started filling in as the truck driver for a couple of months and it turned into a year. The Upper Room Mission then offered Jim an opportunity to run their bottle return program as part of the Fresh Start Guest Work Program funded by United Way. This great program has now become partially self-sustaining. The Upper Room Mission’s Fresh Start Guest Work Program now has 3 clients employed and another 4 volunteering. Jim has now moved up to working full time as the receiver for the Upper Room Boutique Thrift Shop, has a nice townhouse to live in, and truly has been given a fresh start.
Change starts here with people moving from poverty to possibility with the support of United Way.