The Coming to Houston Experience

The Coming to Houston Experience

by Clarence Ewing 

I was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, on March 25th, 1984. From the beginning, my life has been a challenge. My sister and I were put into foster care because our Mom and Dad weren’t able to take care of us. Today, I am challenged with mental health issues due to the choices my mother made. I have realized as an adult that my negative behavior as a child resulted from severe anger I had towards my real mother. I was not a pleasant child to my adopted mother because I was just so angry. 

I know God had a plan for my life. Unfortunately, I did not realize this until I became an adult. After continuously struggling to control my emotions and being a challenge to my entire family, I was taken by my parents to Freedom Village, USA, in Lakemont, New York. This strict home for troubled teens was also a part of God’s master plan, but I did not see that in this one-year program. I ended up leaving and not completing the program, because I wasn't ready to allow God to do great things in my life.

When I left Freedom Village, I moved directly to Houston. I left Lakemont on Friday and arrived in Houston on Sunday. By the time I arrived, I was so out of it mentally. I was not sure what to do, even though my parents had given me directions to my destination, and ended up calling the Dean at the time in 2002. I was directed to go to the men's shelter through the Salvation Army. I am so thankful that I made it there without coming in contact with cops, because before I made it to Salvation Army, I found myself stealing a child's bike. I remember this as if it were yesterday.

I was a very unstable 18-year-old, I am 35 now. So, as the story goes and I speed things up a little, I ended up going to Covenant House. After being in and out of the program for about two years, starting my first job at Taco Bell, and taking my first attempt at the GED, I left this shelter for teens. Unfortunately, my future would be scarred forever when I started to shoplift from grocery stores, clothing stores, and even a computer store. After getting caught and put in jail, I quickly stopped this behavior which had given me two misdemeanors. A third would have led to a felony charge.

Long after Covenant House, I was introduced to a church filled with very kind people, initially by eating the meatball subs they brought from another part of town. This was a really neat thing that was happening, and I was so affected by it that I began to volunteer. This same church gave me a good paying job. It was part of God’s plan for my life. Before getting the janitor job at the church I was given an apartment. Even though I got the apartment, I was neglecting my mental health. I just kept refusing to take of myself. This led to a major changing point in my life. I don't remember much, but I do remember that all of my electronics were stolen from my apartment. A friend that I was trying to help out assisted in this by claiming the door had been left unlocked.

As I end this essay, I'd like to say that I enjoy developing my business Can Recycle Plus (CRP). It helps my own mental health. CRP raises awareness about recycling through mental health empowerment. We also advocate for other mental health organizations and raise money for different upcoming Walks. Visit us on YouTube, Facebook, our website.

I hope sharing my mental health story will help and bless you!

Nikki Hune