My main goal in participating in the Iron Man Triathlon is to raise awareness for today’s struggling youth. I’ve been wanting to create a fundraiser that would generate a new funnel of donations for Hope House Ministries. That’s where I lived from the age of 16 to 22.
When I was a kid I fell for peer pressures that sent me reeling. Struggling to stay in school and on track, I found myself getting into trouble at the early age of 12 years old. My home life was not the greatest. Growing up as an only child, I was constantly looking for something to do. It was a blessing and also a curse. Some days I played organized sports, other days I found myself hanging out with the wrong crowds.
My Mom and Dad were loving parents but unfortunately they had struggles of their own which prevented them from correcting and disciplining me as a collective unit from a young age. So I lacked structure and was never held responsible for any of my actions. Of course I took advantage of this parental weakness and did almost anything I wanted. It was just a matter of time before this came back to haunt me at the age of 16.
I found myself with very little options. I could either take one last chance at redeeming myself through Hope House Ministries or continue on a path that would probably lead me to Jail.
December 14th 2001, Father Frank and Hope House Ministries gave me a shot. This was the beginning of a whole new life for me. I finally had the right setting to learn structure, responsibility and accountability. This was no easy task for Father Frank and his staff but they never gave up on me and I never gave upon them. Over this 6 year period I graduated High school on time and was able to achieve an associates degree from Suffolk County Community College.
Today, I work in real estate and take every opportunity to give back to the home that gave me a second chance at life. Every summer I help organize a Pig Roast which we’ve done now for years. That event has been a lot of fun and has brought folks together to support Hope House. It just so happens I have a passion for participating in Iron Man competitions and Triathlons. I figured I could try and take some of that energy and direct it toward financial support for an amazing organization that saved my life and who continue to save the lives of thousands of others.
Thank you all for considering a sponsorship! Joel
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