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Clay Hunt Fellowship Program: Rebuilding Homes & Confidence

“Statistically, I should be a failure.”

That statement crossed my mind constantly. It had been almost four months since I moved to North Carolina and I went on over 25 job interviews. The plan that I had was falling into pieces and my financial support was wearing thin.

I was not where I thought I should be in life. I had a pending charge on my background check that was visible to potential employers. That made them judge me without even getting to know me. I started to battle my inner voices and question whether I was doing the right thing or not.

I became very aware as to why people with criminal backgrounds resort back to doing things they use to. While not always the case, it is statistically proven to be harder to get hired by an employer when you have a record. So naturally, you go back to providing for your family any way that you can.

 

 

I was determined not to fall underneath that category.

Several months later, I joined Team Rubicon and I responded to Hurricane Harvey. That response mission with the organization changed my life. They didn’t care what color I was/ what my background was or anything else. They just knew I wanted to help and I was wearing a Greyshirt.

Several months later, I had the opportunity to apply for the Clay Hunt Fellowship Program as part of the first Houston Rebuild cohort. That was literally the best decision I have ever made in my young life.

Not only did they literally take a chance with me and trust me, but they are also helping me rebuild my confidence and are pushing me further and further away from becoming that “Statistic.” I am now eight months into my fellowship and I am smiling from ear to ear, loving every bit of it. My fellows are my family and we are creating magic within ourselves and everyone we encounter.

Bottom line is this. I found that my worry of being labeled put a burden on my mind, body and spirit. Your worries can and will keep you up at night if you let them. So I found comfort in the fact that everything happens for a reason and everything will fall into place at the right time.

 

 

What I’ve learned is that you have to be happy within before you can truly spread that joy outward. Everyone is different. Figuring out what I’m good at is what will set me apart from everyone else. My mission is to create a reason for being here.

Life didn’t come with a rulebook or deadlines for accomplishing certain things. I used to always think that I needed to be at the same level as everyone else my age. Life is not a race or a contest, but it’s a journey you must walk on your own.

When you start to figure out what you want in life, there will be obstacles. Do not let anyone or anything discourage you from continuing on. Believe in yourself and believe in your decisions.

And thanks to the Clay Hunt Fellowship Program and the opportunity to rebuild homes in Houston, I’ve had the opportunity to figure that out. Stay positive and keep moving forward.

Teaira Johnson is an Army veteran and Clay Hunt Fellow that served for a short period of time as a Human Resource Specialist before an injury, which led to her medical discharge.