You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Vaughn Caricofe arrived at Helping Up Mission in December 2000, at age 50. Still active in his addiction and with no place to call home, he lived with friend after friend until no one wanted him at their house anymore.
Growing up in Baltimore City hadn’t been easy for Vaughn and he left school in the 7th grade. As an adult, while going from job to job, he tried to get help with his reading skills. But he made little progress and eventually wound up here.
Graduating from our Spiritual Recovery Program, Vaughn stayed on and worked here. Later, when I tried teaching the pre-GED class here, Vaughn was one of my students. After a number of months, we both gave it up!  
So, a year ago, when I heard Vaughn had started back working on his high school diploma, I was relieved – I thought I might have ruined his education forever! This time he had real help – from HUM staff members Theresa Love and Maria Poole – who prepared him to earn his diploma through the External Diploma Program (EDP; see my 7//13/09 blog ). Learning how to use the internet on his computer from roommate and fellow HUM alumnus Steve Hilton, Vaughn began reading about concepts he was taught in class and things slowly began to make sense.
After a series of medical problems and hospital visits, in February 2012, Vaughn received his high school diploma. We honored him in chapel and I asked the now 63-year old what’s next?  “I’m just going to take the diploma out every day and look at it,” he said, and then added, “You CAN teach an old dog new tricks.”

Every dog has his day and I am so happy for Vaughn. 
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director