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John Willoughby was surprised when Vocational Director Tiffany Riddle suggested an office job for his practicum experience. “I’ve never been an office guy. I’ve always had jobs that were survival jobs – truck driving, package delivery, pizza delivery, convenience stores.” However, he was pleasantly surprised by how well he fit at Altmeyer Financial Strategies. Dave Altmeyer, president of the company, has been a great mentor and helped John to see that he has what it takes to do something new.

Before coming to the Mission, the only reason John would turn on a computer was to surf the internet or play games. “Now, I’m setting up Excel and other Word programs” – skills he learned through classes at the Mission. In addition to new skills, John said he also discovered latent talents he didn’t realize he had: “I organize and plan well. I’m a good people person. That’s what you need to work in an office, but I’ve always stifled that and said I wasn’t good enough for this.”

While the experience has been extremely positive, John said he had a lot of fear initially. “I’ve never had to wear a nice shirt. I’m 43 years old, and I’m learning a whole new work life. It’s scary.” However, a big part of what he learned in the Mission’s Recovery program is to overcome fear and take risks. This particular risk is paying off as John considers his future options – including the possibility of going back to school for business management.

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