Part 2: Embrace the New

It can be challenging at a time when you are swimming in the oceans by yourself. I had my gaze set on a program called New Choice. New Choice is a part of the Behavioral Health Service, where it offers support to adolescents and young adults (13 to 21 years of age) who suffer from substance abuse problems. Our society labels these adolescents and young adults. At-Risk, but Catholic Charites, Diocese of Trenton, saw a second chance to sow encouragement, wisdom, knowledge, accountability, life-skill, etc., where individuals planted negative aspiration, hatred, and bitterness.

But at the end of the day, I was able to survive New Choice.

New Choice will forever be a second home. A home where you can experience accountability, love, safety, a sense of belonging, a space that reflected hospitality and inviting sensations.

I encounter Ashanti Michael and Jenna Mitchell who ran the day-to-day operation with Isaiah Warris and Selena Wheeler throughout the home. I experienced the new person greeting, but it took everyone a week to welcome me into the family. After the genuine family welcome, I participated with the Transportation team to pick up the clients from their homes and bring them to the site. It was a meaningful experience, but I felt like I could have contributed more to the team.

I hoped to gain new knowledge from my time at New Choice, but I experience turbulence when the program director Jenna Mitchell embarks on a new occupation’s journey. Therefore, the team encounters a period of grieving while embracing the new program director.

As we embrace the new program director, the clients graduated from the program and experienced multiple snowstorms throughout the transition. The transition in leadership causes a rocky foundation, but we embrace the change. We knew that change could be beneficial. Therefore, we stay on board to experience the growth, knowledge, and experiences the new program director would bring to the table.

I thought that where I was going to spend my ten months, but God had other plans.

The plan involved heading back to the office for a couple of weeks to help the Human Resource department with administrative tasks like employee relations, process paperwork, and filing paperwork. Even though these were meaningful assignments to the Human Resource department, I felt miserable and unvalued. There were times in the morning where I wanted to call out because I knew I would not find joy, happiness, and peace in the task. Therefore, I had to advocate for myself to experience an enjoyable experience within Catholic Charites.

The struggle was real!

But at the end of the day, the Lord convicted me Colossian 3:23-24. It read, “Whatever you do work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”.

This scripture changes my perspective and my attitude throughout my time with the Human Resource Department. I still experience bitterness and anger when I did some of the tasks, but worship was my weapon to overcome those negatively thought I place in my mind.

While God was after my heart, He was working in the background. Therefore, it leads to a new location in Lawrenceville, NJ. Lawrenceville is an extended site for Central Administrative Service where Access & Billing, Maintenance, and Information Technology Support, reside.

For the next couple of the week, I shadow Stacy Harris, a Registration Supervisor for Access Help & Information Center. Under her supervision, I experience various roles and responsibilities, like calling the insurance company for the organization to get client insurance benefits and inputting clients’ information. On the other hand, I also shadow Cynthia Mansour, an Administrative Assistant for the Compliance Department. It was never a dull moment for me while working under these two incredible individuals. They did not want me to leave, but my heart was calling for outreach.

As you can see, it has been a roller coaster experience embracing the new. I have spent the last ten months as a nomad traveling to different locations each month to feed my ambition. As I experience these new beginnings, it has caused much strength, patient, flexibility, personal growth, progress, and opportunities that brought happiness and fulfillment.

Embracing the new can difficult and annoying, but after a while,  you will experience a new you that bring love, peace, and comfort. Esmeralda Santiago wrote, “How can you know what you are capable of if you do not embrace the unknown.”.

 Now, ask yourself this question!

Are you ready to embrace the new?

-Jermaine Clark