“I am committed. I am committed to my recovery and to teaching music,” Stanley Hudson told me over the phone. His voice was so up-beat you could almost hear his smile. “Life is real good now. I am taking it back.”
Stanley was one of this year’s Michelle P Mooney (MPM) Scholarship Fund recipients. The MPM Scholarship Fund was established in honor of the Gathering’s first Executive Director to help with educational expenses for those connected with the Gathering. Our second recipient is Loneva Myrick.
I had the pleasure of talking with Stanley about what brought him to apply for the scholarship and how the money would be used. Stanley has a contagious energy and honesty that makes for an enjoyable conversation.
Born and raised in Alabama, Stanley’s passion for music led to a music education degree in 1978. Married with three children, Stanley described his life as a happy one until he “backslid” and became hooked on alcohol and drugs. A twenty year battle with addiction caused him to end up “homeless, jobless…I lost my family, my wife, my kids.” But Stanley will not be defined by his addiction. He has been sober for over a year and is looking forward to once again teaching music.
“The scholarship paid for a course for me to update my music teaching certificate. I now have a permanent teaching job that starts in two weeks.”
When asked what he was most looking forward to with his new job he said,
“Getting back in contact with kids in the community and putting on concerts. I used to put on great Christmas and winter concerts. That’s really what I’m looking forward to, performing live with the kids.”
What did the scholarship mean to Stanley?
“It made me feel that, when you’re going through a low point, a bad situation, there’s people out there that want to help pull you up. People do recover, people pull themselves up. I ate at the Gathering for 5 years, went back and saw the sign to apply for the scholarship and thought 'I’m doing real good now, I should apply'. One day I hope to do some volunteer work with The Gathering to give back.”
Stanley thanked the Gathering board and staff saying, “Keep on helping people. You never know who you’re lifting up.”