The stimulus of the project was a referral; a woman seeking therapy was directed to St. John by her therapist, convinced that St. John could assist with the woman’s dilapidated home, which she referred to as “coke den,” and her esteem.
Having been addicted to drugs for many years, the woman (let’s call her Angela) finally recognized her ruinous position. Nearing her 40th birthday, Angela knew that it was time that she changed her life. No longer wanting to dwell in filth, she left her home and moved in with her mother, leaving behind her belongings and a fragile and identically addicted roommate. Shortly thereafter, her roommate committed suicide. The news of her roommate’s death, in addition to the loss of her father, made it impossible for her to confront the home that had seen many of her dark moments. So years later with St. John’s’ help, she is finally ready to take back the home that she’d lost to circumstances, and hopes to move back in by this coming September.
St. John acknowledges the strength that it took for Angela to ask for and accept help: “It’s too easy not to ask for help when you need it. We all think that we can handle things alone or that we’re burdening others, but there’s validity in help…there’s strength in admitting that you can’t do something alone and there’s strength in community.”
When St. John first entered Angela’s home, he was accosted by what would be enough junk and discarded personal items to fill a 30 yard dumpster.
“I looked at the counter-tops that used to white; I looked at the rooms that were filled to the brim with so much…stuff… and I knew that my work was cut out me,” St. John recalled.
The first weekend of the multi-phase project was simply geared toward clearing the home of all it had accumulated, which only took six hours, not the projected two days. St. John’s volunteer based venture employs the helping hands of individuals that donate their time as well as the involvement of the person in need. The collaborative method involved in ReGain speaks to the promotion of community.
“As a constellation of people, we have so much more light to give,” he explained. “My light shines fine on its own, but together we generate so much more power.”
St. John’s hope for the future of ReGain is that it will become a fully funded 501C3 organization, which can take on similar projects annually or semi-annually. As it stands, St. John works on Angela’s home as an ongoing weekend project; if you would like to stay clued in on ReGain’s happenings or you would like to learn more, go to http://www.redo-stl.com/blog/.
BY: NICOLE THOMPSON