Resilience is the ability to overcome challenging circumstances. It’s something we teach at Hanna; to dig deep and to find courage in order to persevere through hard times. It is something that comes from within, and something that Hanna alumnus, Mike Matesky, has in spades.
Throughout Mike’s young life, he’s faced many challenges. “I knew I had to get away from home and the environment I was living in, and I did really well at Hanna. I loved it there, and I think it was because of the structure and the staff. Everyone wanted the best for me.”
However, when Mike left Hanna he fell back into old habits and struggled with substance abuse. He bounced between jobs in Oregon, was homeless for a period of time, and found himself, as he said, “constantly messing up.” Throughout his challenges, Mike possessed a burning desire to do better. He knew from his time at Hanna that he was better than the reality in which he lived. “I knew to expect more of myself and that I had people at Hanna who were willing to help me,” said Mike. “It’s something that I just knew and I don’t think I would have had that knowledge if I hadn’t gone to Hanna.”
One of those people who believed in Mike and who expected more of him was his former clinician, Craig Fraser, whom the boys call, Fraser. He’s worked at Hanna for 15 years, and has counseled countless young men as they struggle with addiction. “I knew from working with him that he needed to find his way but I also knew that he’d come around and that he’d carve his path to success in his own time.”
After seeking out treatment for substance abuse, Mike moved back to California and started putting the pieces of his life back together. Looking for a stable and well-paying job, Mike went to every plumber’s union in the San Mateo area to ask about work. “The San Jose Union hired me, and while I was working in their parts department, I spent all my spare time studying for the entrance exam.”
Mike’s tenacious approach to studying paid off. When he sat for the San Jose Plumber’s Union exam, he scored 1st out of 700 applicants! His score merited immediate placement in a job without an interview.
Today, Mike lives in the Bay Area and is focused on completing his apprenticeship program. Mike reflected, “If it wasn’t for the people at Hanna, and particularly my case worker, Fraser, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Fraser gives all the credit back to Mike. “This is the story of a young man who has worked hard to get to where he is in life. He truly is one of our Hanna miracles.” Congratulations Mike!