“Enrique is the best example of Port St. Vincent de Paul,” Nick Fatsis, Port St. Vincent de Paul Director, said. “The way he’s living and taking care of his business is setting an example for the other men. I wish I could clone him. He’s really that impressive.”
Enrique is a current resident of Port St. Vincent de Paul which provides a home and hope for up to 30 men as they transition out of homelessness, prison, or struggles with addiction or mental illness. The 24-hour staff help men like Enrique navigate life challenges, apply for jobs, rest and stabilize, find permanent homes and restore their hope for the future.
Accompaniment on a new path
Enrique’s new path of hope is made possible by your generosity and your care for him and many men working to change their lives for the better. His journey could not be realized without you – your donation of goods, volunteer support, shopping at our thrift stores, and monetary gifts.
You and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison have embraced Enrique and are accompanying him along his new path of hope.
In addition to being a model Port resident, Enrique is a St. Vincent de Paul — Madison employee who recently earned a promotion at the Processing Center. He joined the staff while serving a sentence at Oakhill Correctional Institution.
“While I was in prison, I worked my way down to the custody level to be able to get a job in the community,” Enrique said. “And that’s where I met John Cobb (Associate Director of Retail Operations) and he hired me, gave me a job at the Processing Center and this is how this all started. If John didn’t give me the chance, I know I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am doing.”
“If I didn’t get the opportunity to work I would have gone back to Milwaukee and wound up right back into the mix,” Enrique continued. “I probably would have ended up doing drugs again, coming back to prison. John put me in touch with Nick and talked to the social worker and my probation officer, they got in touch and set it all up and here I am.”
What started was a transition from incarceration to full-time employment and support to plan his next steps in life while living at Port St. Vincent de Paul. Enrique is now working towards building a new life with your help and continued support.
The people who help
Enrique credits the personal connections he has made through St. Vincent de Paul with helping him be successful.
“Nick has been amazing,” Enrique said. “He is probably one of the nicest people I’ve met in my life. It doesn’t matter what you did, or where you’re from. He doesn’t look at you any differently. He’s just got a huge heart. He’s a great guy.”
Nick applauds Enrique’s work to change his life and commends him as an example of the immense power and potential of Port St. Vincent de Paul.
“He is setting an example for other Port residents,” Nick said. “The way he’s living and taking care of his business is setting an example.”
The generosity of others
Port residents receive counseling, daily meals, laundry facilities, and access to phones and computers through the program. Residents pay nominal program fees to partially underwrite expenses and establish a payment history for tenancy when they move into permanent housing. Staff work with residents to identify and achieve their goals which leads to greater stability and independence such as references for permanent housing and employment.
Nick is moved by the generosity of people like you who volunteer and donate money to support men changing their lives through the men’s housing program.
“I already have calls from people that are planning to bring loads of wrapped Christmas gifts,” Nick said. “It almost makes me want to tear up. The fact that people do care in this community.”
Overcoming challenges and moving forward
Enrique has his sights set on a brighter future.
“I hope to get my own place and continue starting my life over,” Enrique said. “It’s crappy having to restart all of the time. I just turned 34 and I’m still climbing out of holes.”
When asked if he had advice for other men in similar situations, Enrique said he would tell them to reach out for help.
“I would tell them that if they’re in need and they’re struggling like I was, they should try this route,” Enrique said. “I would tell them about Nick.”
If you have a heart for creating futures of hope for Enrique and men like him, please pray for them and Director Nick Fatsis, and give generously to support the life-changing work at Port St. Vincent de Paul.
The men of Port St. Vincent de Paul recently planted a “rain garden” as part of The Roger Bannerman Rain Garden Initiative.
The City of Madison Engineering Division established the program and hopes residents will help it reach its goal of 1,000 rain gardens! Port St. Vincent de Paul is proud to be one garden growing that possibility! Rain gardens help reduce runoff on the Isthmus and keep our lakes clean.
At the Port, several men planted a variety of flowers and wildflowers and installed a ‘bee barn” to help our local pollinators thrive. The Port vegetable and flower gardens are pretty popular during the summer months, and the new gardens give program participants an opportunity to unwind and relax while they are seeking a fresh start.
St. Vincent de Paul conferences at Blessed Sacrament Parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church generously provided funds and plants for the garden. Lacy Garden leader, Tom Parslow, graciously lended his expertise and equipment to help plant the garden as well.
With a monthly gift, you can invest in the ongoing maintenance and care of our men’s housing program. Thank you!