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Aeric's Fund

$15,000 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 433 people in 25 months
Family and Friends,
Recently, something happened to me that touched my heart and felt a little kismet. I want to share this story with you in the hopes that you can join me in helping someone special return to a drug-free life.
As many of you know, I live in Baltimore; it's a great city, but a city nevertheless. Several weeks ago, through my own negligence, my purse was stolen from my property: A relatively new  leather bag, matching wallet, new sunglasses, credit cards, cash, driver’s license, ipad and all of my business receipts from previous weeks. Devastated, I began the process of cancelling cards, going to the DMV, and vowing to be more mindful... and also never spend good money on a purse again. Several days later, my roommate and I were walking down our street to a friend’s surprise party when I saw a man in a tattered, dirty white t-shirt and jeans hustling toward us, head down…. carrying my purse! I offered the man money to buy it, which he politely declined and insisted he had to return it to a lady named Kaitlyn, who lived up the street. I told him I was that lady, and he melted down, exhausted, saying he found it in an alley near Upton Market, several miles from my house in an unsavory part of town. He told me he found my address on an electric bill and he wanted to return my purse because someone had recently stolen his sleeping bag from the abandoned house where he was staying and he could only imagine my frustration as he had felt the same way. My purse was in great shape, and had all of its contents, minus the cash, credit cards and electronics.

A friend and I gave Aeric a sleeping bag, flashlight, some clothes, a new backpack and a ride home since he had walked several miles to my house. On the ride back he told me that he was addicted to heroine. He had, at one point, had his own business as a landscaper, but a car accident left him with a serious back injury then serious pain killers and lost income lead him to heroin addiction, a story we have all heard before. He told me he had a daughter, and really wanted to get clean. He knew of a facility in Florida, but did not have the means to get there. When we dropped him off, I gave him my number and told him that if he ever wanted to go to that facility, I would buy the plane ticket as a thank-you for returning my purse.

Several days later, on a borrowed phone, he called to say he had contacted the rehab facility in Florida and they had a space for him, if he could get there. I called the facility to verify what Aeric told me and Intake confirmed that they were prepared to pick him up from the airport and begin treatment, if Aeric could get there. So, the day after Father’s Day, I picked Aeric up and drove him to BWI airport with a one way ticket to Ft. Myers.

That was several weeks ago and since then Aeric and I have developed one of those unexpected friendships you see on YouTube between a cat and a duck. He calls me every day with an update on his progress and we talk about what he's going through. He voluntarily signed a release allowing me to call and speak to his doctors and counsellors. Since the treatment program he is in has a duration of 28 days, he will be transitioning to a half-way house this week. This new facility will cost $450 a month, and Aeric will need to be there at least two months. It is near the rehab facility so he can continue to see his doctors. Over the next few months, Aeric will be given the guidance and resources to help plan his next phase of “clean living.”

Aeric didn’t steal my purse. I had been warned by friends that this could be a scam where people try to get more money from you. Last week I was contacted by a Baltimore Detective stating they had made an arrest of a person who had a record of stealing, and among the belongings of other victims, my credit cards and id were found in his residence.

I believe this encounter happened for a reason and I want to help this gentleman. Aeric is smart, well spoken, and from what I can see, he desperately wants to get clean and start over. In his own words, he's "from the streets," and doesn't really have any resources So, that's why I am reaching out to my friends and family for help. For now, I would like to raise $2,000 to cover Aeric for the next two months at a half-way house in Florida. I am sure there will be other expenses along the way, including getting him established once he is done with his treatment. I will be in charge of the money, and will pay bills for Aeric directly. He will not have access to any money. I will also be happy to update donors as to his progress. Please help me help Aeric, and let the end to this story be one of success. Along with your prayers, please consider making a donation so that this man can change his course.

I would love nothing more than to call Aeric in a few days to tell him the funds are available from people who care and want Aeric to pay it forward however he can. And he will.

Thank you!!
Kaitlyn Smith

p.s. I've updated the goal amount just because if people are still willing to help Aeric, he literally has nothing. So, after paying rent at the halfway house,  he'll need to get back to Maryland, get a phone, figure out transportation to work and tuition for school, etc. I'm creating a Facebook page so those interested can follow his story and where the funds are going. Thanks again!
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Hi Friends and Family!
It's been a while since I've updated you all, but I’m so grateful for the role each of you played in inspiring my career change to the field of Behavioral Health by showing me how much the community needed some positive stories about recovery from Addiction. Since you helped me support Aeric in his recovery, I’ve started AAdvocate Team as a way for our community to meet monthly and share resources for Treatment and support for Recovery. I’m excited to invite you to our first meeting of 2019, where will we host a free screening of the PBS NOVA - Addiction Episode.

The hour-long documentary offers some interesting facts on how drugs affect our brain chemistry, the realities of the epidemic and possible solutions, as well as some poignant personal stories to help us all relate to the human side of Addiction. Please join us for the film followed by an open discussion next Monday, February 25 at The Enoch Pratt Free Library, Patterson Park Branch from 6:30-7:30 pm. For more details and to RSVP, please follow the link to our Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/382758069192456/

Look forward to seeing you there next Monday!
Kaitlyn and The AAdvocate Team
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Friends and Family,

Thank you for supporting us over the past 15 months. Here’s the latest on me and Aeric as told by Lisa Robinson:
https://www.wbaltv.com/article/theft-victim-who-helped-homeless-man-get-to-recovery-finds-new-calling/24408741
Click here to DONATE to AAdvocate projects:
https://www.gofundme.com/aadvocate
Click here to follow us on social media:
https://www.instagram.com/AAdvocateTeam/
https://www.facebook.com/AAdvocateTeam/
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Friends and Family,
It’s a big Monday for two reasons: First, I’m about to listen to myself and Aeric on Episode 10 of a new podcast called “True Stories of Good People.” Since the series launched in July, I’ve heard Kelsea Little interview nine, kind and creative people who launched unique GoFundMe campaigns to help others, and we are honored to be among them. You can hear our episode now by downloading “True Stories of Good People” in iTunes, Cast Box, Stitcher, and reminisce with us as we look back at our friendship and challenges we faced in early recovery. Second, I am launching a new GoFundMe campaign called “Rides for Recovery” to help hundreds more people with addiction the same way I helped Aeric. Please visit the new campaign, linked below, and join the movement that will help get more addicts into long-term recovery.
https://www.gofundme.com/Rides-for-Recovery-Scholarship
As always, thanks for following our story. And on behalf of future recipients of “Rides for Recovery,” I thank you in advance for your support!
Love,
Kaitlyn Smith
Help spread the word!
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Friends and Family,
It’s a big Monday for two reasons: First, I’m about to listen to myself and Aeric on Episode 10 of a new podcast called “True Stories of Good People.” Since the series launched in July, I’ve heard Kelsea Little interview nine, kind and creative people who launched unique GoFundMe campaigns to help others, and we are honored to be among them. You can hear our episode now by downloading “True Stories of Good People” in iTunes, Cast Box, Stitcher, and reminisce with us as we look back at our friendship and challenges we faced in early recovery. Second, I am launching a new GoFundMe campaign called “Rides for Recovery” to help hundreds more people with addiction the same way I helped Aeric. Please visit the new campaign, linked below, and join the movement that will help get more addicts into long-term recovery.
https://www.gofundme.com/manage/Rides-for-Recovery-Scholarship
As always, thanks for following our story. And on behalf of future recipients of “Rides for Recovery,” I thank you in advance for your support!
Love,
Kaitlyn Smith
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$15,000 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 433 people in 25 months
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