Tell me about growing up. I was raised in the “high rises,” the “projects” of Kansas City. They built 5 ten story towers and some condo’s in the 60’s for people with low income. That was us. It had a stigma from the get-go. People felt like they were being herded into some kind of development. The authorities thought it would remove slums and blight. It didn’t. The blight just took a different form. The place was always half empty so vandalism was rampant. At one point they thought about turning it into a prison. In the end they used explosives to blow it up!

I had 2 brothers, we had the basics: a roof, clothes, and food. Growing up was both rough and sweet. We played and had fun like kids do only we grew up in a world of filth, violence and crime. I developed an anger problem early and like a lot of us kids, I got caught up in violence and crime too. I was arrested for riding in a stolen car when I was 16. That was my first offense. My last offense was in 1992; I did 3 years for possession of marijuana and a fire arm.

What did you do for work? In 1978 I was accepted into the army. After basic training I trained as a marksman. Being in the army taught me a lot: discipline, time management, physical fitness among other things. I thrived within the routine and the focused life but it was extremely harsh too. There were some mean, ugly people in there and I hadn’t yet learned how to control my anger. Eventually my temper got the better of me and I mashed the sergeant into a pulp. After a hearing, I was dishonorably discharged. I was 22 years old. Some years later I became friends with the sergeant. I still talk to him sometimes. 

Tell me how you came to RS. I came into the RS Internet Cafe in April and met Fr. Justin. They were hosting a Job Fair for Resolve Staffing and they had 100 jobs open for cashiers and food preparers. I needed a second job to support my family and I love cooking. He had me fill in an application. I completed all the requirements and I was accepted onto the team! Within a few days I was working at the Kansas City Royals as a prep’ cook. Now I come into the RS Internet Cafe, log on to the computers and sign up for my shifts. It’s unreal! There is nowhere in this neighborhood where you can go get a cup of coffee, enjoy free internet and get on a computer to sign up for your work shifts. Like I said it’s unreal. All of us on the Resolve Staff team are in and out of there. My lady is pregnant, so she comes in with me sometimes. It’s a place where she can relax and hangout too. Our baby girl is coming in July so we’re wanting to get a new apartment. It’s a real possibility for us now. We’re so excited!

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Story: Lyn Morse-Brown
Photo credits: Tom Morse-Brown