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HopeWorks Trainee Spotlight: Loki

Loki was born in Norway in 1972 and moved to Canada when he was twelve with his mother, father, and twin brother. Growing up, Loki and his brother had a very supportive relationship and they relied on each other heavily. Throughout school they experienced challenges with language barriers and were bullied extensively. Loki took the brunt of this; his Autism created an extra level of challenges which he endured. Hardships aside, they really enjoyed being in school and enjoyed the lessons they learned. Loki was especially interested in history, science, and math. When Loki and his brother graduated high school, they packed their bags and left for UC Berkeley. Loki went on to study anthropology, paleontology, and Egyptology.

After graduating, Loki joined the police force and within one year made his way up the chain to become an undercover police officer. During his career undercover, he suffered multiple head injuries and witnessed violent situations that left him traumatized. With no mental health support or tools to cope with what he experienced, he did the only thing he knew he could do. After six years of service, he left his job in search of a more peaceful existence.

Not long after leaving the force, he started a family with his partner. They later separated, leaving Loki to raise both of their children on his own. The three of them struggled with homelessness for 5-6 years. He couldn’t afford a place fit for them and it was harder to access resources because he was a single father. He found that many resources were designed for single mothers. In 2016 Loki received housing from Housing Hope and relief washed over him; he finally felt like his options were opening again. He had a place to live, raise his children, and relax. He later applied for Section 8 and eventually received his voucher and moved into new housing.

Using his voucher as a catalyst, Loki continued to find ways to better the future for his family. One of those ways was working towards saving money. To do that he needed to find work, but it had been a long time since he was employed.

He remembered hearing about HopeWorks’ training program. He applied and was accepted. He was surprised by how welcoming and accommodating the staff were. Loki found himself really enjoying the program. He started to feel comfortable advocating for himself, and his customer service skills improved. After a few weeks Loki felt more confident in his ability to work. He enjoyed repairing furniture that Ron would bring in during Hands-on-with-Ron. It brought him back to when he was younger and would repair furniture with his family. If something needed to be tightened, loosened, or taken apart, Loki was your guy.

Loki graduated in January of 2023. At his graduation, Loki was described as intelligent, witty, and funny. By the time he graduated it was obvious that he had gained more confidence and was surer in himself.” Since the first day you came in here and to now, I’ve noticed huge personal growth from you,” Tina, the Director of Renew proudly pointed out to him. Julie, Loki’s trainer also was happy to let him know how much he helped shape the program by bringing awareness to Autism and his struggles. “You have helped make the classroom better for all future trainees,” Julie said to him.

After completing the program, Loki is now volunteering part-time at a comic book and toy store. He is looking to find employment in retail and with his experience, he is excited to take his next steps. We are so happy to have been able to help Loki take one more step forward.


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