News Off The Streets  March 23, 2018
                                                                           Seeking Help                 Finding Hope               Moving Forward
Healing from childhood trauma part of Vidal's
journey out of homelessness
No child should have to endure what Vidal did.
Growing up in Cleveland, OH, he was raised by his mother and grandmother at whose hands he suffered physical, sexual, and verbal abuse.
“Even after the worst of the abuse ended, there was still a constant barrage of verbal abuse and the psychological damage had already taken its toll,” said Vidal.  “I refused to stay with family members because of what happened.  The perpetrator manipulated people into believing there was something wrong with me, that it was my fault.”
Childhood trauma is common among the homeless.  A recent study of 389 youth between the ages of 13 and 25 revealed that nearly 70 percent had come from homes where drugs and violence were present.  Almost 60 percent had been emotionally abused or neglected, about half had been physically abused, and a third had been sexually abused.  
With his home life in shambles, Vidal started drinking and smoking marijuana when he was in his early teens.  That led to expulsion from school, but he did earn his GED later.
Like many people who suffer from psychological problems, Vidal drank and took drugs as a means of coping.  “It made me feel better.  It helped me escape the reality of my life and what was happening at home,” he said.  Unfortunately, that strategy often backfires when it creates drug and alcohol dependence.
Vidal will soon have a home for the first time in seven years.
Cleveland winters can be brutal.  Despite his own struggles, the young man felt sorry for the homeless trying to survive outside in the snow and ice.  He made sack lunches and handed them out to the homeless.  He even wrote a letter to his state representative suggesting a program be started to provide supported housing for the homeless.
Ironically, Vidal is on the verge of receiving housing through a program very much like the one he envisioned years ago.  He expects to move into his new home in a couple of weeks, thanks to the guidance and support of St. John Center staff members Sarah Buckler and Mary Luke Noonan.
“Vidal has taken ownership of the housing process, even going so far as to walk to his new apartment to pick up paperwork so that things would move along faster,” said Mary Luke Noonan, St. John Center program director.  “He is proactive and appreciative of the assistance.  Vidal is eager to get into his apartment so he can set goals and work with his case manager to achieve them.”
Now so close to getting his own home, Vidal is grateful for the assistance he received at SJC.  “Sarah and Mary Luke have been great at helping me find housing.  They provided me with leads and took me to visit some apartments so I could have a choice about where I was going to live,” he explained.
What he will enjoy most about having a place of his own, “privacy,” said Vidal.  “I will be able to do things on my own time.  Get up when I want, sleep when I want, take a shower when I want, eat when I want.”
Directed to St. John Center by someone he met at another shelter, Vidal was quick to recognize SJC as a special place.  ““The staff and volunteers at St. John Center are there to help.  They are upbeat and kind,” he said.  “People get to know you and call you by name.  It is a safe environment.”
Mental health is Vidal’s biggest day-to-day challenge.  He suffers from PTSD and a host of other conditions for which he takes medication and sees a therapist. 
Nonetheless, Vidal has a job working 20-25 hours a week as a cook.
 He voluntarily helps clean the local overnight shelter where he stays. Despite his struggles, Vidal is still serving the homeless.
Make a tax-deductible gift
to St. John Center
from your IRA
New tax laws now permit those of you over the age of 70 ½ to make charitable gifts through traditional or Roth IRAs.
Gifts must be made by the IRA custodian directly to the charity and may not exceed $100,000.
For more information please call Ron Sweat, St. John Center Director of Mission Advancement, at 502-568-6758, ext. 29, or send him an email at
Wish List
St. John Center is currently in need of the following items:
  • Tongue Depressors
  • Kleenex
  • Ground Coffee
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Toilet paper
  • Coffee Creamer (powdered, no individual packets)
  • Sugar (no individual packets)
  • Artificial Sweetener packets
  • Coffee Stirs
  • Rain Ponchos
  • Disposable Razors
  • Bathroom Deodorizer
  • Q-Tips
  • Copy Paper (8 ½ x 11, white)
  • First class stamps
  • Yellow highlighters
  • Post-it notes
  • Gift cards to Kroger, Book & Music Exchange, or Costco
Now there is an easier way to donate to St. John Center, just send a text message.  If you want to support our mission of getting men off the streets and into housing, simply text stjohncenter to 243725.
Kathleen and Russell Smith graciously served as co-chairs of the Raisin' the Rent committee. The dynamic duo took their roles seriously and knocked it out of the park making the 2018 version of St. John Center's largest annual fundraiser the most successful in it's 12-year history. Below, a gentleman heads for the stage as one of the finalists in the Heads or Tails game orchestrated by auctioneer Trey Morris. Well done everyone.
Raisin’ the Rent
reaps record amount
Hats off to all those who sponsored, attended, donated, organized, and volunteered to help with Raisin’ the Rent, St. John Center’s largest annual fundraiser.
That effort resulted in the most successful night in the event’s 12-year history, raising nearly $300,000 for the shelter.
“This year’s Raisin’ the Rent was nothing short of awesome.  Co-chairs Kathleen and Russell Smith did an amazing job.  We are so grateful for the support of the sponsors and all those who came and participated in the auctions,” said Maria Price, executive director.  “But what I love most is seeing a huge event room filled with people who care for their homeless brothers.  Raisin’ the Rent is fun and important.”
A short video (see it at provided a glimpse of Kirk’s journey from homelessness, to becoming employed, and now living in a place of his own.
The St. John Center housing client must have felt like a rock star when he stepped on stage to a thunderous standing ovation.
“We cheered in recognition of the demons Kirk faces, in awe of the work ethic he holds, and in hopes that he knows we will continue to be here as long as he continues on his path,” said Maria Price, executive director of St. John Center.  “Kirk is a star in our eyes.  So, too, are all the St. John Center supporters who make it possible for lives to change for good.”
If you missed toe-tapping tunes by The Remedy, bidding on a huge selection of quality silent and live auction items, delicious hors d’oeurves from Bristol Catering, and a chance to Fund the Mission, be sure to join us on March 2 for Raisin’ the Rent 2019.
From this...
to this...
to this...
to "How do you take your coffee?"
Coffee Room
now complete
The St. John Center Coffee Room has been closed for renovation, but is up and running once again.  The images above illustrate the progression of the project.
The first photo was taken shortly before the work began.
The second photo shows volunteers Kenny Buckler (husband of SJC supportive housing manager Sarah Buckler) and Patrick Noonan (father of Mary Luke Noonan, the Center's program manager) who installed new tile flooring.
The next photo is the room as it looks now with new cabinets, countertops, and sink; and a fresh coat of paint.  Plumbing was the final piece of the puzzle.
The final photo is of longtime SJC volunteer Jack Lydon filling a cup with hot coffee for a client.
Stay tuned for the dedication of St. John Center's new and improved Coffee Room.

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Address postal inquiries to:
St. John Center, Inc.
700 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40202

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