About the Founder
Montique "Skeeter" Martinez was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. As a child, he attended Yogi Bear Sunday School where he was befriended by a young couple, Robin and Andy, who took him into their home and helped him become the person he is
today. In 1990, he moved to Washington State to be closer to that same couple. He counts the pastor of Metro Ministries in Brooklyn New York as another major influence in his life. Pastor Bill Wilson challenged Skeeter to never give up while reaching for his dream.
On the path to fulfill his dream, Skeeter earned a degree in Business Management from Peninsula College in Port Angeles,Washington. While Vice President of his class in
college, Skeeter realized that he had a facility for motivating and organizing people to work together to help others. He initiated programs to give holiday food baskets to low income students, hold holiday toy drives for children living in homeless shelters, and hold annual senior citizen dances. The skills he developed while earning his degree have served him well in his career as a manager in the hospitality industry.
Even as a child, Skeeter loved to help others, so its no surprise that, as an adult, its his dream to open a shelter for the homeless in his community.
Message from the Founder
When people ask me why I started Second Chance in Life, I tell them about Joe. Normally, if I noticed homeless people at all, I walked right past them, I just like most people do. But, one day, for some reason, I stopped and talked to a homeless man. I wanted to know why, in this great country, someone could end up homeless, on the street, and hungry. I took Joe to a restaurant
to buy him a much needed meal and, as we ate, I asked him to tell me his story. As it turned out, Joe wasn't that different from you and me. He had an education, a job -- a good job with a major corporation, in fact, a home, and
a normal life. Never, in his wildest dreams, did he imagine that he would end up homeless. But, through a series of common circumstances, he did. His
wife became terminally ill, he took time off work to take care of her, lost his job, lost his health insurance, couldn't pay his mortgage, and lost his car and
home. He became one of Washington's tens of thousands of homeless people. I asked Joe why he wasn't in a shelter and he told me something else that
opened my eyes. Joe explained that there aren't enough homeless shelters to give all the homeless a place to sleep. And, even if someone manages to get
into a shelter, they're simply trading one set of dangers for another. Dozens of cots are placed in a large room and the homeless are expected to sleep
within a few feet of each other. Both they and their possessions are vulnerable. They get little sleep because, if they sleep soundly, they risk waking up and finding their few life-saving possessions gone -- taken by other desperate people struggling to stay alive. Morning comes far too early and, not even having gotten a good night's sleep, they're pushed out the door and
onto the street. That's right, conventional homeless shelters put people on the street. I don't know about you, but I though those shelters existed to
shelter people and help them get on their feet, not to make them homeless every day! With no place to get real rest or safely store their possessions, no medical attention or place to wash their clothes, no street address where they can receive mail or phone calls, the homeless find it almost impossible to get off
the streets. They can't apply for jobs looking like homeless people--and, believe me, if you and I spent two weeks on the street, we would look like homeless people, too. They can't apply for jobs dragging their meager possessions with them and they can't leave those few life saving possessions on the street to go into a job interview. They can't apply for jobs without a
mailing address and a telephone number. In the months that followed my conversation with Joe, I noticed more homeless people on the streets of the city where I live. They were there all
the time, of course, but they'd been "invisible people" --but not any more, Joe had opened my eyes and my heart. Just as my eyes and heart were opened by my encounter with Joe, I believe that the eyes and hearts of others can be opened to the plight of the homelessand, together, we can end homelessness.
Montique "Skeeter" Martinez
Montique ( Skeeter ) Martinez