The Open Shelter

Get To Know Glen

Glen Matson was recently hired as our Day Services Assistant. He works hand in hand with our Deputy Director of Day Services, Solomon Dean, to make sure our guests, homeless and marginally housed men, women, and children, feel safe, secure, and helped each day. We sat down with Glen to learn a little bit more about him and what led him to The Open Shelter.

“No I am not. I am born and raised out of Dayton, Ohio. I stayed there until I was 26. Then I moved to Columbus. Dayton was a fast paced place for me. A little too fast for myself. I wanted a change of scenery. There wasn’t a lot of jobs there. In Columbus, there was plenty of opportunity. A lot of things if you are willing to work for them.”

“Poor. I lived day by day. Sometime I didn’t know where my meals were coming from. Or your clothing. Or shelter. I have been on my own basically since I was 13. When I was 9, my mother sent me to my father’s. He never did anything. A few years later, I just sort of left. Being on the streets, you get into some trouble. Petty theft, stuff like that. Nothing major.”

“At first, it was a breath of fresh air. In Dayton, I would see someone at least four or five times a day, that’s how small it was. One of the things I loved about Columbus was, if I don’t call you; I won’t see you, which I love. I came in and started working three jobs. I met my kids’ mom. We were together for about 17 years. I have two beautiful children, Serena and Sean. My daughter just turned 18. My son is 16. I basically live for them. I don’t want them to do things I had to do and lived they way I had to live. I don’t want them to get ridiculed because they don’t have. I make sure I take care of them. Myself and their mother takes care of them.”

“No. We have been separated for about 8 years. When it comes to our kids, though, we are still together. One person didn’t see that the sacrifice was worth it. When you choose to take on parenthood, you got to stop running the streets, stop going to clubs. You have to go from one bedroom to trying to get a house. From the time she found out she was pregnant, it took almost ten years to come from one bedroom to a house. By the time we got to the house, she didn’t understand the sacrifice. I looked at the light at the end of the tunnel. I worked, I worked, and I worked.”

“I worked at a restaurant. I also cleaned buildings downtown and I worked at a metal place that made metal stands that you put things on. Then, I left all of that and focused on driving. Driving for produce companies, rental companies, Ohio Mulch; whatever I could drive. The weird thing is, I was supposed to be in an 18 wheeler but God wanted me here. I was accepted and got a grant to go to truck driving school but then my ankle got messed up. They want you to be on your feet for 11 hours a day. So there was no way that was possible. I sat on the couch for awhile and started getting depressed. I woke up one day and said to myself, I am going somewhere to volunteer.”

“Just sitting on my couch, feeling depressed. I had no income coming in. Not being able to get around due to my injuries, I started picking up weight. My self esteem was dropping. I needed to do something. But due to my health, I couldn’t do a full time job. But if I could volunteer at my own pace, it would work. If I was feeling bad, I could sit down. If I couldn’t show up the next day, The Open Shelter wouldn’t be angry. I stuck with The Open Shelter and I like it. I volunteered for three months. I then was hired after that.”

“It is different from anything I have ever done. I am sort of a laid back person. I don’t really talk a lot. The Open Shelter forced me to come out of my shell. Making the morning announcements, that is big to me. That has helped open up doors inside me that I didn’t know could be opened. I look at things a lot more when I am in public. I speak differently. That is one of the great things that has happened. The thing that really stands out the most is how really nice my co-workers are. How hard Sheli (Mathias, our Director) and Sarah (Hatchard, Director of Guest Services) work for the people we serve. Solomon (Dean, Director of Day Services) works extremely hard. As does Jerome (Jackson, Donations Liaison) and the others who volunteer here. There are people here that do touch you. Most people we see are mild mannered and respectful. I am happy to see them when I come to work because you know they are going to bring a smile to your face.”

Glen with a volunteer and our Deputy Director of Day Services, Solomon Dean.

“Lately, I have really thought about it. I am learning to rewalk again. I don’t plan on going anywhere. I love working for The Open Shelter. Especially for all of the things we do for the children. I had water on my ankles. It is one of the most painful things. You just cant get up and walk. Trying to go to the bathroom or the kitchen was a task. When I first came to The Open Shelter, I was on a cane. When I started volunteering, i was walking with a cane. That was after all the months on the couch. I was finally able to get up. I was in pain every day, all day. For seven months, I was in pain from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep.”

We are thankful that Glen came through our door as he is a wonderful, dedicated addition to The Open Shelter and our mission of “Staying Behind With Those Left Behind”.

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