Vili was born on May 4, 1989 to a heroin addicted mother. He never really knew his father. Vili became a dependant of the courts when he was three years old, after he was found wandering the streets of East Oakland, CA. He was eventually placed with relatives where he was the victim of physical and mental abuse and neglect. Vili grew up in the foster care system – constantly being moved from one placement to another. He was seven before he knew his true birth name, but could not spell or pronounce it. No matter the placement, he was considered emotionally unstable, suicidal, and unfit for normal foster family life. He was moved again and again.
Now a young adult, Vili lives with barriers every day. His most difficult battle is with his addiction to alcohol. Vili had once enrolled in junior college. Although he earned a 3.0 grade point average, he lasted only one semester. His addiction had won. “I tried playing college football but of course my addiction got the best of me and I even tried working but ended up getting fired for being intoxicated at work.” Vili understands if he chooses to drink alcohol again he could die.
Vili became a Pathways resident in November of 2010. He attends weekly counseling sessions (at no cost); he believes his counselor is helping him find new ways to identify problems that arise from depression and post traumatic stress from his past. Vili says that Pathways provides the kind of environment that allows him to reach his goals. He also works with a drug and alcohol counselor and gets support from a case manager. He has been in the Pathways program for over a year and has stayed clean and sober during this time. He currently has two part time jobs. Vili spends time in the evenings with Pathways mentor staff and views staff as his own “personal advisors”. Vili also has a young son he loves very much. He has been able to save a little money and has paid off all his debt. When he leaves Pathways he will be employed, have a small savings account, improved life skills and now, a car! He plans to continue working on his educational goals and wants to be a great father to his child.