While growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Joey Weinert lived through a tough childhood, as addiction was a grim reality within his family life. After his fourth DUI led him to spending six and a half months in County Jail, Joey knew it was time to re-evaluate his life and address his addiction to drugs and alcohol. A family member suggested Joey go to Midnight Mission, and when he did, he hit the ground running.

Joining Mission’s Healthy Living Program, Joey was determined to turn his life around. He started his first work therapy job as a dorm porter. Joey began to quickly realize that once he got rid of a life revolving around drugs and alcohol, he needed to be a productive member of society, while knowing how to live life on life’s terms. He took his work therapy job very seriously. Proving his hard work ethic, Joey was given an opportunity to interview for an Assistant Volunteer Coordinator position within the Mission’s Public Affairs Department. He was chosen out of four people and held the position for six months.

Joey loved how his new job gave him the opportunity to educate volunteers on the plethora of services Midnight Mission provides from meal services to housing to healthy living programs. He also noticed how attentive volunteers were when he shared his trans-formative story of struggle to triumph, all because of the guidance and support given to him by Midnight Mission. He was living proof of the power Midnight Mission has in changing lives for the better.

Once Joey successfully completed his full year of work therapy, he was determined to continue to stay self-sufficient. His experience at Midnight Mission made him realize how much he enjoyed giving back to the community. His newfound passion for helping people compelled him to attend Santa Monica College to study nursing. To remain financially independent, Joey also got a job working at a burger joint. However, he didn’t have to stay for long. A vacant paid staff position opened up within the Mission’s Public Affairs Department for a Community Events Coordinator. Joey had left such a great impression during his work therapy program that he was the top choice candidate to fulfill the role. He was immediately called in for an interview, got hired and is currently working in this position today.

Joey says that he is beyond thrilled to be back working at Midnight Mission. “Midnight Mission pointed my focus in bettering my life,” he explains. “They have given me an opportunity to start fresh. They have given me the foundation and bridge to self-sufficiency. This is a great way to give back to Midnight Mission what was so freely given to me.”

Written by Berenice Famili