February 25, 2010, RWW Supervisor Arnold Lee delivered a speech at the Annual Membership Meeting of the Capitol Hill BID. Below is a copy of that speech and his inspiring story.
Good evening board of directors and BID members, my name is Arnold Lee.
After 90 days, I completed the Supervisor-In-Training program and was hired by The Doe Fund, (RWA) in Philadelphia, where I worked for 5 years. I returned to D.C. every weekend, where I watched my brother progress with the Capitol Hill BID. Due to a new contract with North Capitol Main Street, I was offered a job as Sr. Site Supervisor, from my brother, who is now my boss! So, Ready, Willing & Working has helped not only me, it has helped my family and for that I thank you!
I know my good looks and fantastic physique may fool you but this past January 9th I celebrated my 52nd birthday. And I am here today to tell you because of Ready, Willing & Working I spent that birthday with my friends and family and not in jail or on the streets.
Before Ready, Willing and Working I was in and out of jail and feeding a 25-year drug addiction. In May of 2003 after my last stay in jail I asked God for help, and He led my steps to what was at the time – Ready, Willing, & Able – a work training program for homeless, formerly incarcerated, drug free men. I was accepted into the program on June 3, 2003.
I began the way everyone does, pushing the blue bucket as a clean team member for the Capitol Hill BID. Behind the bucket I found hope and next to me I found new friends who shared my story of struggle and new beginnings. Every day we came to work knowing that “We were loved here.”
I remember my first full pay was in July. I spent it on birthday gifts for my two children, both born in July. I had not been around or given them anything for years; the look on their faces was enough motivation for me to continue the path I had started.
My work ethics and enthusiasm for the program paid off and I was soon given the opportunity to enter the Supervisor-In-Training program with Ready, Willing & Able in Philadelphia. But before leaving it was my turn to pay it forward. With the help of my case manager I went before the parole board for my younger brother, Andrew, who like me wanted more than drugs and jail in his life. We testified on his behalf that if released from jail he would enter the Ready, Willing, and Able program, and it certainly has paid off.