By: Adam Sennott
Pat Fina, who has worked at the Community Learning Center in Cambridge for the past 11 years, recounts the seven years she spent in shelters while battling illness. She spent most of her homeless years in St. Patrick's Shelter because it doesn't allow any drugs of alcohol. Although she wasn't guaranteed a bed every night and Pat sometimes had trouble finding a place to stay, once a year she would treat herself to a dinner at Legal Seafoods for her birthday. Fina grew up in Ohio and eventually went to graduate school at Tufts, but after being raped at a theater party, she left school without a degree and with 10,000 dollars in debt. Fina worked off her debt by doing administrative work for schools and hospitals around Boston, but she soon became too sick to work. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and it took two years before she fully recovered. Once she regained her health, Fina was hired by the shelter as a janitor, and soon after she discovered the want ads for a tutor at the CLCC.