From homeless to a master's degree

Steven Coufal’s turning point came when he was drunk and fell on his head. He doesn’t remember it but he remembers who picked him up from the hospital five weeks later. 

“The Lord’s Place, when I was released from (hospital) care and the (Lord’s Place) got me, which was wonderful because I had no place to go,” Coufal said.

Before that, he was homeless. Alcohol had taken full control of his life. 

“In 2010 I ended up on the street and I was on the street for the better part of two years. It was a very bare existence,” he said. 

He never had another sip of booze after hurting his head. It took a year at the Lord’s Place, where e still is today, to be able to write or even button a shirt. 

“I had to overcome the idea that I was having difficulties due to the brain injury and learn how to move forward despite that. And so that’s the kind of encouragement that I needed,” Coufal said. 

At 58, he went to college to study social work. He wants to be a therapist. 

“I think that with my background and having been there I can provide them with a perspective that they otherwise might not get,” Coufal said. 

Now, 63, he’s going to graduate with a master’s degree in social work from Florida Atlantic University on Thursday. 

“That’s the gown,” he says, showing it off hanging from a door in his apartment. 

WPTV asked him, “Did you ever think you’d be wearing one of these?”

“No. I did not. There was a time when I hoped I would someday,” said Coufal.

He is just now his prime. If he saw his 20 year old self on campus, this is what he’d tell him: “Where your focus is will inevitably determine the kind of man you become."

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