The Power of Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Ronald Shobey’s Primavera Journey

“I figured since I wanted to thank so many people at Primavera, I’d rather just put it on a shirt and let everybody know.”

Nine years ago, Ronald Shobey was struggling with drugs and alcohol, housing and employment. 

Today, he wears a Primavera shirt he had made, mostly because he’s grateful for his journey and Primavera’s part in it.

Throughout his journey, Ronald learned that you always have to put your best foot forward, no matter what’s happened in your past. 

When he was just nine years old, his parents separated, resulting in almost a decade of staying in different foster homes around New York. Despite the lack of stability in his family life and a lack of stable housing, Ronald graduated from high school and college, later joining the California Conservation Corps after reuniting with his father in California. 

“I was a firefighter for about two years with the California Conservation Corps,” he said. “It was real nice. It wasn’t quite military, but it was a military structure. Having that discipline is always good, but that came with time. As you age, you just try to avoid the pitfalls.” 

Unfortunately for Ronald, there were a few pitfalls he wasn’t able to avoid, including struggles with drugs and alcohol and an inability to make full rent payments. 

“There’s a bunch of things you can blame,” said Ronald. “The economy. COVID. I struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was on SSI (Supplemental Security Income), so I had income. It was just that my past was sort of catching up to me. I had places where I lived in New York that I owed money to and that kind of thing. So, it was really hard to get a reference. 

When he first heard about Primavera Foundation, Ronald had only heard about the Men’s Shelter, but after nine years of struggling to find stable housing, a chance encounter at a bus stop led him to Primavera’s Homeless Intervention and Prevention Drop-In Center. 

“Primavera’s been helping me with the ID, birth certificate, the mail service,” he said. “It’s like anywhere else. You put your best step forward and you can get things done.” 

Ronald is one of the approximately 4,000 individuals that visit Primavera’s Resource Center each year. Since opening in 2021, the center has provided drop-in respite and emergency services through our Homeless Intervention and Prevention Program (HIP).


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