Billy has been a member of the Price Hill area for 51 years. Throughout this time, both the neighborhood and Billy himself have gone through many changes. “I grew up starting on State Avenue,” says Billy. Growing up he “worked for neighbors and other people he met” in the neighborhood. During this time, Billy faced and overcame struggles with alcoholism, employment, and educational setbacks. Speaking candidly about his struggles with alcoholism Billy says, “I drank seven days a week, all month, all year.” Through help from friends and community members, Billy will be celebrating his fifth year of sobriety this May.
With the help of Santa Maria’s Literacy Center West, Billy received his high school diploma. Literacy Center West offers clients the opportunity to earn their High School Equivalency certification by helping them reach educational objectives. “I had a sixth-grade reading level about nine years ago,” says Billy. “I got a tutor through Literacy Center West.” Along with tutoring, Literacy Center West connected Billy to the Dohn 22+ Adult Education Program from which he graduated with his high school diploma. After receiving his diploma, Billy began seeking employment opportunities with Santa Maria’s Workforce Development Program.
The Workforce Development Program prepares people for self-sufficiency by supporting education, employment, and financial goals through support from a coach. Elise Marrinan, Billy’s Economic Coach, helped Billy look for jobs. He says Elise and the Workforce Development program did not only help him look for jobs to apply to but, helped him with the other phases of the employment process. “They help me with jobs, with clothing for interviews, any financial thing,” says Billy. He recently secured a job with The Compass Group through which he is now contracted to do maintenance work at University of Cincinnati Hospitals.
The financial help Billy received from Santa Maria included financial coaching that took him from having no credit score to having a score of over 600. Billy also managed to turn a negative net worth into a positive one and pulled together an emergency savings account.
Billy aspires to help others in Price Hill in the same way that he has been helped. “This is my neighborhood, I grew up here since I was two years old,” says Billy. He has a big heart for his local community and has spent a large amount of time volunteering to improve it. He takes responsibility for the neighborhood where he grew up by doing volunteer maintenance work at places like Santa Maria or picking up trash off the streets of Price Hill. Billy hopes to see the Price Hill area continue to advance “through organizations working hand in hand.”