Seeing the Good: How Gregory Found a Positive Direction for His Family
Gregory Smith was tired of running. He grew up on the streets, in and out of foster homes.
For a young Gregory, settling down wasn’t an option because homes were never permanent. Back then, staying transient was just a way to survive. But as Gregory got older, it became clear that running was no way to live.
“My wife and I became very unhappy with our lives,” Gregory said. “We were homeless, I was struggling with addiction and we hopped from motel to motel each night hoping for a place to sleep. I didn’t want my kids to have to grow up like this. I wanted direction and stability for them and all of us.”
In 2010, a friend of the Smith family had just joined Solutions for Change. They saw the life-changing power of Solutions’ programs and thought the Smiths could find the direction they were seeking at Solutions Academy. That friend referred Gregory and his wife to Solutions, and within a few months, the Smiths were fully moved into our housing and attending Solutions classes.
“As soon as we got to Solutions, Chris and Tammy Megison just embraced us. They were like the parents you’ve always wanted,” Gregory said. “My life started turning around when I met the Megisons. I needed someone to give me direction, and Solutions gave me and my family exactly what we needed.”
At Solutions Academy, Gregory overcame substance use and focused on the Academy’s work training and personal development classes. He had years worth of distrust and difficulty to overcome, but the Megisons supported him at every turn. Slowly but surely, Gregory began to find himself and how to use the strength he always had.
“Honestly, I was a hot mess when I got to Solutions. But over time, Solutions taught me what it means to be a father and a man,” Gregory said. “I spent my whole life up to that point running and distrusting. I didn’t trust anyone, not even my wife. And I was so skeptical of this program. But Chris taught me that you have to slow down, open up to others and trust them in order to move forward. He earned my trust by trusting me to put in the work.”
As Solutions Academy does with all students, the classes and group activities broke down Gregory’s life to the root causes that led him down a difficult path. Rather than simply applying temporary solutions to his family’s homelessness, Solutions built Gregory’s integrity and self-esteem to direct his family on a permanently healthier trajectory.
One of the most influential and enduring lessons from Solutions Academy for Gregory was about self-talk. At Solutions, we believe there’s something powerful about thinking kind, empowering thoughts. By having unyielding faith in oneself and expressing that faith through positive self-talk, confidence rises and challenges seem more manageable.
“Once I developed trust in the process and trust in others, I needed to place more trust in myself,” Gregory said. “I worked really hard to get rid of all my negative self-talk because nothing ever good came from it. I built a foundation of positive self-talk and started seeing the good in myself and the world. By focusing more of my energy on the exciting things in my life, they became more attainable. You can’t get the good if you don’t see it in the first place.”
Even now, years after graduating from Solutions Academy, Gregory utilizes positive self-talk to focus his strength every day. While he brilliantly overcame his homelessness and substance use, Gregory now faces new challenges. He had a series of strokes and kidney problems that require him to undergo dialysis several times per week.
“On the mornings I get dialysis, I have to get up very early and spend hours doing this procedure,” Gregory said. “But despite these health problems, I tell myself to get up, suit up and show up every time. That’s what Solutions taught me. And it’s worked for me so far. If I keep doing this, I get to spend more time relaxing in my home with my grandkids.”
Despite his health struggles, Gregory pushes forward and has built a life he loves. He has a beautiful home and family. Throughout our conversation with Gregory, you could hear his young grandson laughing in the background and Gregory couldn’t hide his happiness.
He found his direction and finally stopped running.
“I can now sit back and know my kids have a future,” Gregory said. “My son graduated as a welder and my daughter is pursuing a future in criminal justice. I’m so glad I could build a foundation for them to succeed and for all of us to live in peace and stability.”
To learn more about Solutions Academy and our life-altering programs, browse our blog and see Our Work in action.