NewBridge Jobs Plus Graduate Anthony Justo: NewBridge Helped Me Start a New Chapter
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Anthony Justo of Parsippany; works out at his home in Parsippany. 1/20/2017 Photo by Jerry McCrea
As a teenage skateboarder, Anthony Justo miraculously survived being hit by a car. But the traumatic experience led him to behave recklessly rather than to treasure his life. He began using drugs and then stealing to support his habit. After committing a robbery in 2012, the only thing that stood between Justo and state prison was the victim, a chaplain who asked a judge to send Justo to drug court instead. That program — along with Justo’s faith in God — helped save his life, he said.
Following 14 months in the county jail and seven months at a state treatment facility, Justo enrolled in NewBridge Jobs Plus. “Going back to school at age 24 wasn’t easy, but everyone at NewBridge Jobs Plus made me feel welcome,’’ he said. “They helped me earn my high school diploma and start a new chapter of my life.”
The Parsippany resident is driven to help others. As a certified peer recovery specialist, Justo helps people who overdose on opioids, while also pursuing a career in social work. He works full-time at a restaurant and is studying to become a personal trainer.
Justo is a recipient of the STAR (Student Training Achievement Recognition) Award given by the Garden State Employment and Training Association. It is awarded to individuals who overcome barriers and complete their education and gain sustainable employment.
[This story first appeared in NewBridge’s Impact 2016 annual report. If it has inspired you, please support NewBridge on #GivingTuesday with a generous donation. Go to newbridge.org.donate. Thank you! ]
NewBridge Services, a 501c(3) nonprofit, is a premier provider of counseling services, housing and educational programs in northern New Jersey serving 10,000 adults and seniors last year alone. NewBridge treats mental illnesses and addictions; teaches skills for coping with stress, grief and challenging relationships; builds and manages affordable housing; offers school-based programs that teach children and adolescents resiliency skills for healthy emotional development; helps young adults succeed in their education and prepare for careers; and supports seniors so they can remain independent. Throughout its more than 50-year history, NewBridge has remained true to its mission of bringing balance to people’s lives by tracking shifts in communities’ needs and providing innovative, effective programs to meet them.