Health Champion Changes Lives After Changing His Own

May 22, 2014 | Posted in Health | Keywords: ,

Keith Hines surveyed his life and decided to make a drastic change. After more than twenty years of drug and alcohol abuse, the U.S. Army veteran found himself homeless with no ties to his family. Keith lived in his car for nine months and received several citations from the city before he visited the Downtown Austin Community Court and sought help.

A case manager at the court helped Keith by giving him access to treatment and then facilitated his move into permanent supportive housing with Foundation Communities through a partnership with Caritas. Over the past two years, Keith has found real stability at Spring Terrace.

“Spring Terrace gave me a chance to get my life back on track,” Keith said. “It was one of the best things to ever happen to me.”

Since moving in, Keith has stayed clean and sober. He knew that having his own apartment presented him with the chance to live his life differently. “I knew that I had to do positive things,” Keith said. “I had to make better choices.”

The Georgia native is not only making better choices for himself, he is also encouraging others in his community to do the same by serving as the resident health champion at Spring Terrace. In this role, Keith oversees walking groups, helps coordinate healthy living classes, such as cooking and yoga, and plans fun outdoor activities, like trips to Barton Springs.

Keith also shares useful health tips with his friends and neighbors through weekly flyers. “Being the health champion allows me to do another positive thing,” Keith said. “I’m helping other people.”

Foundation Communities began recruiting health champions last year as a way to provide residents with meaningful leadership opportunities through our increasingly robust healthy living program. Keith explained that he knocks on his neighbors’ doors before classes, inviting them to attend, and is actively trying to get more residents involved in the many health activities available on site.

It was the U.S. Army that brought Keith to Texas decades ago. He married and had children, but his life unraveled once he began abusing drugs and alcohol in the early 1990s. Keith was in and out of treatment for years, but it wasn’t until his move to Spring Terrace that he really committed to changing his life.

“I feel good about what I’m doing today,” Keith said. “I’m giving back to the community, I have a relationship with my kids, and I’m responsible. People can count on me today.”

For more information about our Healthy Living Initiatives, click here