When Brian was little, he occasionally got to hang out with his dad at the auto shop where his dad was a mechanic. Brian loved watching his dad work on cars and hoped that someday he could become a mechanic.
Now a tenant at Peter & Paul Community Services’ Garfield Place Apartments (GPA), Brian is getting closer to his dream. When Brian moved in four years ago, staff helped him set up his apartment and taught him how to use the appliances and clean his space.
“I had never had my own apartment. I just love having my own place, especially my own bathroom and refrigerator,” Brian said.
Brian grew up in Oakville, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was five years old, and he went to live with his aunt. Brian loved to use the computers in school, but mostly he struggled to pay attention in class.
“They said I had ADHD, but the medicine didn’t really work so I just stopped taking it,” Brian remembers. “And one day, I was around 15, I felt really strange and I started acting kind of crazy so my aunt called an ambulance.”
The ambulance took Brian to a behavioral health hospital where he was diagnosed with a mental health condition, was put on new medications, and was assigned a case manager. After Brian left the hospital, the case manager continued regular visits with Brian at home.
“I lived with my aunt for 18 years, and eventually she couldn’t take care of me anymore because she was getting older,” said Brian. “My case manager helped me get into Peter & Paul’s Labre Center. I lived there two years, and then I moved into Garfield.”
Brian didn’t waste any time once he got settled into his apartment. He started attending St. Louis Community College at Forest Park and received a certificate in Automotive Technology in 2022.
Now, Brian is on his way to becoming a mechanic. He is working with an employment specialist to figure out next steps for making his dream happen. His next goal is to get a driver’s license to meet this requirement of most automotive field jobs. Brian has started working with the GPA Life Skills Specialist to figure out how to get some driving practice and study for his license.
In the meantime, Brian enjoys cooking and recently cooked a rock fish that he got at the food pantry. “I don’t know what a rock fish is, but I added some Cajun spices to the fish, and it came out pretty good. I made grits too,” Brian said.
“I know it’s going to take a while to get my license, but I’m glad I finally learned how to work on cars. I’ll keep working on it,” Brian said.