As a child, John Chavis was subject to emotional and physical abuse by his family. This abuse paved the way for a life filled with depression and low self-esteem. The two things that kept him going were a love of writing and a love of art. It was his love of art that provided relief through his troubling road to recovery.
Growing up in South Los Angeles, Mr. Chavis was continually depressed. Neither he nor his family understood the nature of his depression, caused by a chemical imbalance. His respite was hopping onto his bicycle with a sketch pad and riding over to the Natural History Museum to draw the figures in front of the museum.
In 1996, Mr. Chavis become homeless after experiencing a breakdown not long after his mother died. For close to four years he moved from shelter to shelter to friends’ homes and back. In 1997 he arrived at PATH and ended up at Turning Point’s transitional program. He began treatment at Edelman Mental Health, eventually was given an opportunity to move into ACOF’s Gower Apartments.
Mr. Chavis has now been an ACOF tenant for 12 years. Once his housing was secured, Mr. Chavis began truly focusing on his mental health. His love for art returned along with his interest in writing. He has written two books (unpublished) and working on a comic book character. He has demonstrated a desire and commitment to re-enter the workforce, working various part-time jobs over the past many years. Two of his favorites were in inventory at Borders Book Store where he was nominated twice for Employee of the Month, and as a cashier at the Natural History Museum.
Mr. Chavis has learned that no one is responsible for his own happiness except for himself. He continues to visit City College’s Work Source Center three times a week to search for part-time work. He will be starting at Santa Monica College this fall to pursue a degree in webpage design. His ultimate dream, however, is to pursue a degree in anthropology or paleontology.