If you’ve ever had a friend, a sibling, a parent, or a significant other, you know that people are different. We disagree; we quibble; we even get annoyed with each other. And despite all of our differences, we share a common thread. Perhaps many threads, but two in particular. We are all human—image bearers of our Creator. And because we’re human, at some point in our story, we have all experienced pain.
Pain looks different for each of us. Bullying. Divorce. Debt. Cancer. Unemployment. Loneliness. Depression. Loss. No matter what our pain looks like, it’s real, it’s difficult and it’s often one of the most defining events of our life story.
Brooks came to us eager to share his story. And why not? He just graduated our New Life Program. When we gave him the space to share, the first thing he spoke of wasn’t his recent achievement or that just two weeks prior he moved into a home after being homeless. The first thing he shared was his pain and the experience that eventually led him to us. “I’d been married a long time,” he said. “When I found out she was cheating on me, I was hurt. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, how are you supposed to know what to do when that happens? I started drinking, and I went down and down and down. I lost my job because all I thought about was masking the pain. I would think about what happened and start drinking. Then, I’d go to sleep, wake up and start drinking, again. I had no interest in life anymore.”
Eventually, Brooks’ drinking became so rampant that he started sleeping in his car. One Friday morning, he found himself standing at the corner of Broadway and Park Avenue. “I remember standing there on the corner of the street,” he said. “I looked up at the sign, the “Jesus Saves” sign. For the first time in my life, I felt like God was speaking to me, like He was inviting me inside.”
“I had no interest in life anymore. I was down; I was hurting. But Denver Rescue Mission, and their supporters, gave that back to me.”
Brooks went inside and he sat down in our chapel. “Well, it just so happens that there was a graduation ceremony that day,” he said.
The graduation was for the Mission’s New Life Program graduates and there was a man giving a speech. Brooks can’t remember what the man said, exactly, but he remembers being moved. “I sat down in the chapel and listened to him talk. I remember feeling inspired; he was speaking truth. After the ceremony was over, I went up to him and started talking to him. He prayed with me and he told me about the program and encouraged me to enroll. That’s how I ended up at Denver Rescue Mission. Come to find out that the man I was talking to was the CEO, Brad Meuli, and I didn’t even know it!”
That was the day Brooks joined the New Life Program. And in December of 2018, he graduated. “A lot of us have fallen down, we’ve experienced pain and hurt, but the Mission is here to pick you back up, and that’s exactly what they did for me.”
A lot of us will have people come alongside and help us navigate pain well. But there are some people who will struggle to get through it, who will seek to cope with it using drugs and alcohol. Many of the people who come to us for assistance are hurting and reaching out for help in the only ways they know how.
When we’re hurting, we all need a little help to get back on our feet, and that’s okay. It’s hard, and for some, it’s a long road. At the Mission, we specialize in coming alongside people, empathizing with their pain, showing them avenues to get through it, and encouraging them along the way.
But it’s not just us. It’s you, too. As a supporter, you are a part of the work we do. You play a pivotal role in the transformation of peoples’ lives, people like Brooks. “I had no interest in life anymore,” he said. “I was down; I was hurting. But Denver Rescue Mission, and their supporters, gave that back to me.”
You Helped Brooks Overcome His Pain…
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Five New Life Program Components
In the first few months of the program, participants attend morning devotions, addiction classes, Bible studies, group seminars, and weekly church services. As they progress, participants are encouraged to invest in spiritual support by connecting with local churches and church-related groups.
Chaplains provide case management through weekly appointments that help participants address issues and struggles. Some issues may be spiritual, physical, psychological, legal, financial, medical, educational, and/or employment-related. Chaplains are the biggest advocates for our participants. They set goals and give each person help and encouragement along the way.
Participants explore their life story and search for how it fits into God’s larger story. One of our Licensed Professional Counselors or Counseling Interns guides conversations to promote faith and courage, an understanding of suffering and an understanding of how emotions interconnect with spiritual, psychological and physical health. It is a journey into personal wholeness for each of our NLP participants.
LIFE SKILLS, EDUCATION AND CAREER
Participants have an opportunity to further their education through our Life Skills, Education and Career Modules. The Education Coordinator assesses basic academic needs (literacy, GED preparation and basic computer skills) and creates an appropriate educational plan, if necessary. Participants also enroll in a Career Development Program through which they explore finding, applying for and keeping employment that matches their skill set and abilities.
Participants are assigned to a work readiness team where they work a variety of jobs around the Mission. They’re also assigned a supervisor who works with them to ensure they are growing in their employment readiness and skill set. In this part of the program, we aim to impart solid work ethics, positive experiences and valuable soft skills. We also help participants find meaning and value in their work and help them balance work with other areas of their life.
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