Every person that comes through the Brookdale Warming Center looking for help has a different story that led them there. For 33-year-old Richard Chandliss, it was a battle with substance abuse.
“One night, I just got tired of what I was doing,” said Chandliss. “I didn’t have anywhere else to go at the time. I walked around all night until the sun came up.”
He eventually made his way to Loaves & Fishes Ministry, where they directed him to Daybreak for a meal and clothes, but he still did not have anywhere to sleep. So Daybreak sent him to the Brookdale Warming Center.
“When I came here, I ran into Tamika Johnson. And everything has been successful ever since,” said Chandliss.
Johnson, a Case manager, was the connection Chandliss needed to make an income and have a shot at turning his life around. It just so happened that Sarlyn Collins, owner of Grow Local Food, was looking for a dishwasher, so she called Brookdale.
“Richard was with us pretty quickly, and we just fell in love with him. He’s doing a great job,” said Collins.
“The call just came through. It came out of nowhere, so I took it and ran with it,” said Chandliss.
Chandliss is now a busboy at Grow. Every weekday morning, he takes a Transit Authority bus to the restaurant on Riverside Drive and then gets the restaurant ready before customers arrive.
“I love it,” said Chandliss. “Everyone is super nice and awesome. They help me out a lot. I help them out a lot and they appreciate it. It’s nice to feel appreciated.”
He thinks this is the perfect fit for him, since he is a people person and loves to interact with others. Plus, he knows this job will help him afford his own apartment one day. He says the future looks bright because of what the Brookdale Warming Center did for him.
“I’m just excited about life,” said Chandliss. “It doesn’t seem like I should be because of the situation that I put myself in, but I’m happy.”
Chandliss, who has a talent for playing the piano, is also hoping to get a shot at the music industry one day. For now, he says he’ll continue to play for his friends at the Warming Center, and continue to work hard to get him where he wants to be.