Mark Friedrich has made great progress “because I followed what I learned at the Father McKenna Center.”
Born and raised on the DC area, Mark was for many years in the automotive industry as a technician and repair man. He understood what made engines run, and how to make them run better! He was also a loyal, only son, and in his mid-30’s moved home with his aging parents to care for them.
But life has not always been good to Mark. He came to the Center in November 2014 after having suffered a series of setbacks. He was badly burned while repairing cars at his work. Because he didn’t have health insurance he did not get medical attention for the burns. He was out of work for several months, thereby losing his job. During his recuperation he fell behind on his rent and was evicted in October. He moved in with friends, who pointed him to the Father McKenna Center.
Last winter he participated in the Hypothermia Program, where “I had a chance to climb out of the despair that had overwhelmed me after my health and financial struggles. I also had great security, good food and I made some really good friends among the men in the program.”
Mark has continued to repair cars to make ends meet, but arthritic knees mean that he can’t work in the field full-time any longer. This summer he got involved in the Computer Skills class here at the Father McKenna Center. “I believed I was computer literate – I could do what I wanted to on a computer. But I didn’t realize that there was much more.” When the McKenna Center instructor took Mark to Byte Back, another nonprofit that trains low income individuals for work in the technology sector, he showed real aptitude for computer systems and has now completed the PC Hardware Course at Byte Back and in January 2016 will begin the advanced class at Byte Back that will prepare him to diagnose and repair both software and hardware issues.
Like all men who succeed with the support of the Father McKenna Center, Mark has done most of the work himself, but “you folks have been my rock, and have been there all along the way.”