Disability takes many forms including the disease of addiction which often has life-altering consequences. For Christopher Torrance, this meant the loss of his employment, his home and a long, difficult and personal journey of recovery and rebuilding.
A successful construction worker for 19 years, Christopher’s disability left him institutionalized and homeless. Summoning his courage and inner strength, he made it through rehab, only to be set back by the sudden and unexpected loss of a friend. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is a little support and opportunity at the right time. Christopher received intensive counseling to keep him on the road to recovery, and secured temporary housing to help him with his immediate living needs. But long-term success is generally dependent upon one’s ability to support and sustain them. A dedicated Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) counselor connected Christopher to a job opportunity at PRIDE. Throughout the country, PRIDE establishes relationships with state and local agencies like DVR which create critical links between individuals with disabilities and employment. Christopher’s counselor believed his skills were a good match for PRIDE Industries and personally accompanied him to the hire orientation event.
Skilled in helping individuals with disabilities overcome obstacles to employment success, PRIDE found that it took only a few small accommodations to ensure Christopher’s success on the job. Today, with the support of his supervisors and co-workers, he is a successful maintenance trades helper in the carpentry shop on PRIDE Industries’ base support services contract at Fort Dix, NJ. Through training and dedication, he hopes to become qualified as a fully-skilled carpenter.
People who have been through a journey like Christopher’s often feel an extraordinary desire to give back. Christopher has volunteered his time at a local food pantry, helping others struggling with the homelessness he once experienced. He is saving his earnings to live independently, motivated by the thought that someone else will take his place in his supported housing program and benefit as he has.
“When I had the PRIDE interview, I felt right then and there I hit a homerun,” says Christopher. “At orientation, I wasn’t the only one that felt that this job was a godsend. I feel like I’m in a dream. This job saved my life.”