Ask Alfred about the most influential person in his life, and he will tell you about his mother:
“The first person I look up to is my mother. She has been the pillar stone of my life. There is nobody better to think about when it comes to my upbringing and upliftment. There’s no other person I could follow when it comes to the teaching of how to be respectful and live a responsible life.”
Alfred’s mother, in fact, is the reason he ended up in the United States at all. Originally from Liberia, Alfred grew up surrounded by war and conflict. Wanting a better life for her family, his mother decided to move to the United States. Just two years ago, at age 21, Alfred moved to Minnesota on a green card with her and two siblings.
Unfortunately, once here, Alfred faced a difficult road. His mother became terminally ill at the same time that Alfred struggled to deal with PTSD and other mental health challenges. Between these factors and some other unavoidable events, Alfred became homeless. He crashed on a friend’s couch for two days before his medical case manager referred him to Our Saviour’s shelter.
Alfred’s time at OSH shows just how much can happen in a month. Within 35 days in shelter, Alfred successfully connected with mental health services, started working with a job coach, and secured housing with Our Saviour’s transitional housing!
Although Alfred plans to move into independent housing as soon as he can, he’s currently taking time to grieve the loss of his mother, who passed while he was in shelter. He finds solace by taking long walks and listening to music, especially Bob Marley. “The message in the music brings me back to a stage where I contemplate on the strife of all the people and to see some visions of good that people said would come to pass.”
In the future, Alfred dreams of returning to a life of farming, something he misses about Liberia. “I love agriculture because it’s the way you sustain people. It motivates me when I see people in gardens or farms. There will be no more hunger for them.”
For now, OSH helps him budget his income and offers continual encouragement. He concludes, “They have given me hope. When it comes to who will share my dreams and who will listen to my sorrows, I’ll count on OSH staff. I believe that as long as my goals are set, the ones we are working on right now, I will see myself going forward.”