My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Boiler Room, Port Townsend, WA, USA
The Boiler Room saved my life. I became involved with The Boiler Room in the fall of 2000. I had been living in Seattle, and had started using methamphetamines. I quickly lost my apartment and ended up living under the I-5 overpass. After a warm summer of “I can do this—being homeless isn’t so bad!” the weather started to change. The famous Seattle rain was coming. In the grey, everyone who had seemed so lively and fun over the summer suddenly turned into weird drug zombies. I had a terrible run in with my supplier that scared me into wanted to move on from the lifestyle I was entrenching myself in. I asked my only support network—street kids—if anyone knew of a place to go that would be away, but didn’t take a bunch of money. There would be no rehab in my future. If I was going to get clean, it was going to be by sheer willpower. I was directed to The Boiler Room as a safe haven, a place where I could have the support to clean up and sober up. It was a drug and alcohol free venue in a town I had never heard of. I had to take a bus, a ferry, and then two more busses to get to Port Townsend, a place I was blindly putting my faith in. I fell asleep on the bus, after telling the bus driver where I was trying to go. He woke me up at the bus stop outside of The Boiler Room, and I collected my belongings, straightened my back, held my head high and marched inside. In the building, it was warm. The windows were fogged and a scruffy looking dude was playing guitar in the corner. The tables were full of bundled folks. There was a free food event happening; Sunday Soup. I had barely made it inside the door before an unknown human was yelling that they’d need another bowl. By the time I made it to the counter, a bowl of veggie soup, a hunk of bread, and a cup of milk were waiting for me. I fumbled through my pockets, expecting to have to pay something. How would I afford it? I had less than $5 in change in my pocket. When I was told that it was on the house, I cried. Crying at someone I didn’t know was one of my greatest fears at that point—showing vulnerability meant that I could be taken advantage of. The girl behind the counter awkwardly patted my hand (human contact!) and sushed me. How could she help, she asked. My entire story came tumbling out… Abusive parents. Poor life choices. Homeless. Drugs. Help? I didn’t know what I needed. She looked at me and nodded her head, once, decisively. Sleep, she proclaimed. It was obvious that before I needed anything else, I needed sleep—finish the soup, go to sleep. A phone call was made, and shortly a long haired, bearded, Carhartt-jacketed man stepped through the door, followed by a… pug. The pug was the deciding factor. I went with the man, a Board Member of this nonprofit coffeehouse and social services hub, and slept on his floor for eighteen hours, waking only for water and pug kisses. When I woke fully, he took me back to The Boiler Room. I had my pack, my sleeping bag, my supplies. I slept on the porch of an abandoned house for my first two weeks in Port Townsend, and started volunteering at The Boiler Room. I found a part time labor job through the job postings board in The Boiler Room, and bought a van. I moved into the van and started supplying it for a cross country trip, which I completed in 2001. I returned to The Boiler Room after, because The Boiler Room had saved me. It saved my life. It provided me a base. A home. A family. I ended up attending school and getting jobs through connections I made in The Boiler Room. I became a Youth Representative to The Boiler Room’s Board of Directors in June of 2004. I continued to work on the Board until I became The Boiler Room’s first Executive Director in May of 2012. Continuing to work with the Boiler Room has given me an opportunity to share my story with others, and to be an example that it is possible to turn your life around. This spring, I married a man, a guitar player, I met in The Boiler Room a long time ago, when we were both so young. I filed for a City Council position the week after the wedding. I give my time, my money, and my heart to The Boiler Room. The Boiler Room saved my life, and I do everything I can to return the favor.
Please see The Boiler Room here: www.ptbr.org