Chris Carlino of Chattanooga, Tenn., is a 37-year-old business owner and father of two who lives a happy life in the city he fell in love with as a college student. The opportunity to have any kind of normal life, let alone graduate college, enjoy a successful career, and have a loving family, is a direct result of his time at Paul Anderson Youth Home. Chris has no doubt his life was over if not for the Home.
“I credit it all to Paul Anderson Youth Home,” Chris said.
He began abusing drugs and alcohol at a young age, and by the time he was a junior in high school, he was a regular user and suffering from depression. Facing felony drug charges at 16, Chris spent three months in jail as his family searched for an alternative. They found the Paul Anderson Youth Home.
“My parents were relentless trying to find a way to keep me from prison,” Chris said.
Although raised as a Christian, he was not very spiritual when he arrived. The adjustment was steep, but he was open to the message. Physical activity, hard work, and discipline broke down the barriers and rebellion.
“After overcoming all the hurdles and learning so much, it’s like a light switch went off,” he added. “Once I got past that, the sense of brotherhood, family and pride takes over. You don’t feel like you’re incarcerated or stuck there. It felt more like my own free will and something I had to accomplish for myself,” he explained.
Upon graduating, Chris didn’t know what to expect returning to a world that had been frozen to him for two years, but he felt equipped and confident to tackle it. He worked at Athens Y Camp before going to Lee University in eastern Tennessee. He so enjoyed the area he settled in Chattanooga after graduation. Chris began his career in radio ad sales and now owns a local insurance brokerage in the human resources and workers compensation industry.
Chris is one of six distinguished alumni recognized by the youth home as true success stories, living productive and positive lives and being named “Gold Medalists for Life.”
He credits what he learned at the Home for making him a better father, a role he says is the top accomplishment of his life.
On the occasion of the Paul Anderson Youth Home 60th anniversary, Chris added, “The Home has an enduring legacy. It’s unique and special, and I can’t imagine there is another place like it.”
The success stories span decades, with graduates found all over the country. For more information about Paul Anderson Youth Home or to donate, call (912) 537-7237 or visit www.payh.org.
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