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My name is Rhonda Lynn Wise, and I’m a Peer Advocate at Daniel’s Place.
About 10 years ago I found myself in a situation that I never thought I would be in; I was homeless. Through no fault of my own, a matter of circumstances that led me to that state. I was terrified. I knew absolutely nothing about what being homeless meant, nor where to find resources to help me in my situation. It was either sink or swim, and I decided to swim. A friend told me about a place in Los Angeles called PATH (People Assisting The Homeless). Through a case manager, I was able to be placed in a very nice, Catholic-run shelter called Good Shepherd. I then was placed in The Salvation Army’s Bell Shelter, which is where I was able to save money in order to get a place of my own. During this time, however, I began to self-medicate. I was using street drugs because I thought if I could numb myself I wouldn’t have to feel the pain I was going through from being homeless, estranged from my family and embarrassed about my situation. I never thought that I would experience homelessness in my lifetime: I’m a college graduate from a wonderful family, I have supportive friends, and I have a strong faith in God. Homelessness was my hidden fear, and now I was facing it.
Throughout the time I was homeless, I always felt the need to help others by passing on any information about resources, sharing a meal, or just spending time talking to other homeless people who needed someone to talk to. All the while, I knew when I got back on my feet that I wanted to give back. Once I got into a home of my own, I began to focus on my life. I started attending NA meetings and other self-help groups. I found strength in going and, little by little, I began to see improvements in my life and prospects for my future.
In 2014, I completed a Peer Leadership Training Program at the Westside Center for Independent Living and received a certificate and an accommodation from Mayor Eric Garcetti for my volunteerism with the homeless community of Los Angeles. I knew I wanted to work with the homeless population and began to pursue a position with Step Up on Second. Early in 2017, I worked with Malcolm Carter who referred me to Daniel’s Place. After meeting with Maria Jeffery and finding out about the wonderful resources available to the TAY and the Young Adult community who are members, I was offered a position as a Peer Advocate in August of 2017. Daniel’s Place staff and the members are pretty awesome. We are a dynamic team, and I’m excited every day I come to work. I feel that my life experiences prepared me to affectively help the population we service at Daniel’s Place.
In 2018, I’m on track to finish my Master’s Degree in order to have growth potential with Step Up on Second. I want very much to be a part of this organization in the best possible way I can. I look forward to being involved and giving back because it enriches me and gives me a great sense of purpose. I love what I’m doing and I love where I work.
Rhonda Lynn Wise
Peer Advocate at Daniel’s Place
Donations can be sent c/o Step Up Development
11693 San Vicente Blvd. #902, Los Angeles, CA 90049 • Phone (310) 696-4510 x2200
or online at www.stepuponsecond.org/donate
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