When Samuel Buggs was 16 years old, he was incarcerated for the first time. He didn’t leave prison until he was 31. Without job prospects and a network of support, Samuel slipped back into many of the destructive habits that got him incarcerated in the first place—abusing drugs and alcohol, breaking the law, spending more time in prison.
But at 55 years old, Samuel decided to change his life. He was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and went to Jubilee’s partner organization Christ House for treatment. “It was truly a rebirth, a new beginning,” he said.
Through Christ House’s substance abuse recovery program, Samuel not only became clean and sober but moved into Jubilee’s Euclid building, which “expanded his joy” in this new beginning.
“Jubilee’s Empowerment Program made me believe I could do whatever I wanted to do,” he said. With newfound confidence in his abilities, Samuel graduated from Jubilee’s Leadership 101 class, began volunteering with Jubilee Youth Services, and enrolled in psychology classes at the University of the District of Columbia. In February 2016, he joined the Jubilee Housing Board of Directors.
Next week, Samuel begins a degree in Human Services at Catholic University. He hopes to use his education to become a counselor for at-risk youth, so they don’t make the same mistakes he did as a teenager.
“Jubilee allows me to dream—gave me my dreaming back,” he said. “I feel blessed to be a part of this movement.”