Ricardo was a devoted son and a hard worker, committed to helping care for his struggling family. But opportunities were limited in their small hometown, so when he was 18, he moved to Los Angeles. “I wanted to provide for my family, to better their lives,” he says.

He found full-time work as a dishwasher, but soon discovered he couldn’t make ends meet and wound up homeless. Working and sending money home, he slept in the park, on the train or in a donut shop. “I never told my parents that I was homeless and hungry, because I knew it would break their hearts.”

Ricardo grew thin and dirty and lost his job. After that, isolation took a heavy toll. “I didn’t speak to anybody. I was stuck in my head, telling myself, ‘You’re a piece of trash.’ My self-hatred grew so big that I became suicidal,” he says. “Thankfully, I’d just turned 22 and finally matured to the point where I could go ask for help.”

Ricardo went to a youth drop-in center, where he was referred to The Landing – our transitional housing for young people. “They gave me a place to stay, a bed, blankets, three meals a day, clothes, a place to shower, everything,” Ricardo says. “And if I ever have anything on my mind, I can talk to the staff.”

The Landing has also strengthened Ricardo’s faith. “I felt like God had been ignoring me, but that has changed through the blessings I’ve received here, through people who care about my struggles.”

Ricardo plans to stay at The Landing and go back to work as a dishwasher while he attends college and finds a career path.

“Instead of worrying about whether I’ll be able to eat, now I can focus on bettering myself.”

This Easter, Ricardo will be celebrating the beautiful new beginning in his life – made possible by your generous support. “The Landing has given me a stepping stone, a way to grow and keep on growing. It’s brightened my whole life.”

Click the image above to see the Easter 2019 edition of “Sharing Hope”

Help other people like Ricardo

Ricardo’s story of hope and healing is inspiring. Our long-term recovery programs exist to help other men, women and children in the greater Los Angeles area find healing. Will you help provide this help to others?

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