Doing the Job Until It’s Done

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Through the guidance of Chanlyut, program participant Dale Seiser has transformed his life, is staying sober and has rebuilt his relationship with his family. “I’ve never really been accountable to anything before,” said Dale. “Now I’m accountable and responsible.” Photos by Wayde Carroll

Believing in himself is the key to Dale Seiser’s success

When Director Bill Tsurnos offered Chanlyut participant Dale Seiser the opportunity to become the manager of the program’s Wholesale Foods microenterprise, Dale’s reaction was immediate: “I said no, no, I don’t want that!”

It was a crisis of self-esteem.

As a kid, Dale had been a good student, an athlete, and a loving son to his adoptive parents. But after he took his first drink of alcohol at the age of 14, he says, “The gates of hell opened up.

“When you get into an addiction, it really screws with your self-worth. Most of my life, I never really gave myself any credit.” But Tsurnos and Assistant Director Kevin Riehl saw more in Dale than he saw in himself. “We sat down with him,” Riehl recalls, “and told him that while he may not know how to be the crew boss yet, he is capable of learning how. All he needs to do is believe in himself.” A week later, Dale relented.

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Dale Seiser sets the example for a crew from Chanlyut Wholesale Foods that prepares and packages wholesale food products for resale by local clients like Providence Medical Center, The Alaska Club and Chevron stations.

Today, it’s not uncommon for the 36-year-old native of Brazil to put in a 14-hour day doing inventory, placing orders, and overseeing the crew of men who make and package food for clients like Providence Medical Center, The Alaska Club and Chevron stations. The responsibility of supervising others and working with clients has not only boosted Dale’s self-esteem; it’s transformed him into the kind of worker any employer would feel lucky to hire.

It’s exactly the kind of transformation Chanlyut strives to generate in its participants. “When men come here, they think being mediocre is just fine,” said Tsurnos. “We teach them to hold themselves to a higher standard. We teach them to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”

The change that’s taken place within Dale is what will help him stay sober and maintain the relationships with his family that he’s rebuilt as he enters his workout phase of the program this fall. It will help him secure employment beyond Chanlyut, a key to a participant’s success after leaving the program.

“I’ve never really been accountable to anything before,” Dale explains. “Now I’m accountable and responsible. I get up and go to work, and I do the job until it’s done.”