Persevering in the Right Direction – Jeffrey’s Story

by Maritime
Categories: 2021, News Archive
Photo by Jeffrey Zoccole

For Jeffrey, hard-work and perseverance have always been a part of his story. Growing up, his childhood was filled with family fighting and alcoholism. Yet, his work ethic led him to become a freestyle skier. That is until the trauma in his childhood led him to a life of substance abuse and being in-and-out of jail.

“I had nowhere to go”

“When I first moved from Ontario to Calgary I was living with roommates. One night, I was drinking and it caused a fight,” Jeffrey explained. “They kicked me out and I had nowhere to go.”

That’s when Jeffrey had his first encounter with The Salvation Army.

“I wandered around until a security guard pointed me to The Salvation Army shelter. I stayed there for a month and a half while I worked as a welder until I was able to get my own place.”

A decade later, Jeffrey’s cousin mentioned there was work in Halifax. He took the leap and moved across the country, but the pattern began to repeat.

“When I got there, my relationship with my cousin broke down. So, I started going to A.A. While I was in recovery, I was staying with a coworker until that relationship broke down too. I was also grieving the loss of my mother at this time. Then I was in and out of many shelters in the city. 

That’s when Jeffrey found himself wandering again, living on the streets and out of a tent in a provincial park. That is until someone recommended he turn to The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope in Halifax.

“At The Salvation Army, you can get hope”

“I took part in The Salvation Army’s Rapid Rehousing Program. I stayed for two months and worked through the addictions I was struggling with. I had to walk away from the life I was a part of to get back on the right track. I wanted to be on the right track and The Salvation Army helped me get there.”

The Salvation Army’s Centre of Hope offers compassionate service through a men’s shelter, substance abuse programs, transitioning housing, daily feeding programs and community family services.

“They looked at me like I was human, like all people fall down and I could get back up. My whole family walked away from me because I was experiencing trouble, but The Salvation Army didn’t.”

Today, Jeffrey has once again persevered. He now has his own place and is working towards his goal of becoming a published writer and even owning his own publishing house, while he works on rebuilding relationships with family members, such as his uncle and his daughter.

“I’m working on a reflection of art book. I take pictures of reflections in mirrors and glass,” he explains. “To me, this is like our memories. I add poetry into it to bring it full circle.”

Jeffrey says he is grateful for The Salvation Army and wouldn’t be where he is today without the support he received over the years.

“I really enjoyed the time at The Salvation Army. Receiving three meals a day at the shelter made such a difference than when you’re living on the streets. When you’re hungry you’re not thinking properly. You think about the addiction and become stuck in it. At The Salvation Army, you can get hope.”

Learn more about Salvation Army programs and services in the Maritimes.