Patrick Steps Up With Support From StepUp Ministry
Patrick is a proud father, husband, entrepreneur, and employee of the Holly Springs School District. But his life hasn’t always been this stable.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Patrick moved out of his mother’s house when he was 15 years old. He felt lost and found himself searching for a new type of family. That search led him to gang-heavy environments, but as he puts it “I knew quickly that wasn’t the lifestyle for me, so I didn’t really stay in it a long time.”
So, Patrick kept searching and that pursuit moved him south, first to Greensboro where he began a 7-year career with Chick-Fil-A and found a mentor that helped him develop the management and leadership skills he needed to grow into adulthood. That career then led Patrick to plant roots in Raleigh, and it’s from that soil that Patrick grew.
“I wanted to be around family finally. At the age of 33, I remember asking my mother ‘do you mind if I come and stay with you for a while?’ And she was open to it, which was a big deal because I hadn’t stayed with my mother since I left home,” Patrick explained.
When he arrived, his mother had some hard questions for him, like: “How does it feel to finally be home?” and “What have you accomplished in that time?”
Patrick began to question the progress he’d made up to that point.
“I had to become an adult at such a young age. But I had learned through life. I didn’t get a chance to learn the skills that you learn when you’re under your parents’ household. While I was staying at my mother’s house, there were a lot of things that I was questioning about my life.”
Patrick was ready to take the next step. His mom suggested that he check out StepUp Ministry in Raleigh.
Founded in 1988, StepUp Ministry (StepUp) is a non-profit organization that annually helps 600 individuals in Wake County transform their lives through employment and life skills training. In fact, their mission is to provide pathways for people to overcome barriers and transform their lives. The organization’s Life Skills program is designed to teach adults the tools needed to navigate the ups and downs of daily life, including budgeting, managing emotions, goal setting, and conflict resolution. Patrick’s mom – along with many of his family members – had already graduated from that program.
“I loved it. The peace that you feel and the family vibe that you feel when you walk through the door. I was just like, okay, I can do this,” he said.
Patrick says the bonds he built with his mentors and classmates, and the accountability that came from those relationships, are what kept him in the program. StepUp became the family he had been seeking for so long.
Since joining StepUp’s Life Skills program in April 2022, Patrick has married the love of his life, gained his “bonus daughter”, began a career as a state licensed life insurance broker, and landed a position at Holly Springs High School. He’s planning to go back to college so that he can use his voice and experience to positively impact young people in the classroom.