CEF Member: Jasper


Jasper has a great deal to be proud of. “Today I have my own apartment, I have transportation, I have a job, I’m on the board for IFC… And I have a great job. I’m a cook for UNC.”

Jasper came to Chapel Hill in January 2014. Born and raised in Kinston, Jasper left his hometown to shake addiction. “I was about 14 when I started down that road of drugs and alcohol.” Now at the age of 55, he is feeling “grateful and blessed,” and clean and sober for over a year. He shares, “I just think that if I had kept going, I wouldn’t be on this earth right now.”

He joined CEF just a week after moving to town, and says, “I met my best friend, one of my best friends, his name is Sam.” Sam was paired with Jasper as his Advocate, and “Just hung in there with me from day one, we’re like glue… I always think about him, and say ‘How’s your mom?,’ and he says the same thing to me. He’s just like family to me now.”

“When we first started it was mainly job-hunting. We would put in applications for 4, 5, 6 jobs every time we met. My motivation was always to work in the kitchen. I just set my mind on getting a job at UNC. And fortunately it happened.”

Working with CEF, “Another one of the things I learned is how to save my money. When I put down the drugs and alcohol, I realized I needed to always have a nest egg. And CEF taught me that.” Just a couple of months after moving out of the shelter, Jasper was hit by a car on his scooter. The accident broke his foot and he was unable to work for over a month. Fortunately, Jasper had that “nest egg” he built through CEF and didn’t miss a single bill payment during his recuperation.

Above all, Jasper is most proud of his newly trusting relationship with his 91-year old mother. Jasper goes home often to visit his family, sharing “It’s fortunate that today they see a new me, a better me, an improved me. I am grateful that at that age, [my mom] gets to see me this way.”

What’s next for Jasper? “One day I want to own something, my own place, you know. It’s alright to rent, but this ain’t the final stop here. I want a yard, I want a dog.”

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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233