After years of addiction and separation from their children, Ralph and Lisa are grateful to the Mission’s Bridge program for bringing their family newfound hope. Now, they are rebuilding relationships and looking forward to a brighter future together.

The grasp of addiction doesn’t just affect one individual; it casts a wide net, affecting families and straining relationships with those closest to them. For husband and wife, Ralph and Lisa, their substance abuse may have bonded them together, but it ultimately drove a wedge between them and the ones they cherish most—their children.

“We lost our kids three times to social services, successfully got them back, went clean for nine years, and then had the most massive relapse you could imagine,” Ralph recalled.

While Ralph and Lisa were devastated by the separation from their five children, it seemed as if they were stuck in a cycle of addiction, getting clean and relapsing.

With their most recent relapse, Ralph and Lisa not only lost their two youngest children, Aaliyah (16) and Brehanna (18), but they lost their home, vehicle and jobs.

“It was hard wanting to go sober, but you can’t because you just can’t leave the drug,” Lisa said. “Not being able to see the girls and trying to maintain places to stay, finally I just said, ‘I’m tired of this.’ I just hit my rock bottom.

Their rock bottom brought them to the Mission’s Bridge program at The Crossing, where individuals and families have a safe place to live while they transition out of their circumstances.

After years of separation, Ralph, Lisa, Brehanna, and Aaliyah were reunited and together they came to the Mission and found the extra support they all truly needed.

I’m thankful that we found it when we did because there are not a lot of programs out there that help with families.


“The counseling has been a massive help, especially the family counseling because even though they were happy to come home, we were still working on things,” Ralph said.

“The bootstrap class is awesome, just learning how to budget and how to deal with your finances properly. The three meals being fed a day. Denver Rescue Mission has been a great help in every way possible.”

For Aaliyah especially, the Youth Center has helped her connect and have fun with other teens at The Crossing. Through math and reading club, Bible study and fun activities like summer camp and rafting, she has found a sense of community during what can often be a difficult time of transition.

1st time family homelessness increased 34% from last year.

Having been at the Mission for a year, Ralph and Lisa are grateful for the changes they have noticed in themselves and their kids. They are rebuilding relationships with all of their children, and now get to see their granddaughter every weekend, something they wouldn’t have even thought possible a year ago.

“All the kids are coming around more,” Lisa said. “They have told us countless times, ‘We’re proud of you guys, just keep doing what you’re doing. You guys are doing great.’”

“They know we’re trying really hard to better ourselves and get on with life,” Ralph added.

Aaliyah can attest to that and is just grateful to be together again. “They’re more caring,” she said. “Sometimes I get mad, like why do they even care, but I really love it that they cleaned up. It took a while but it’s ok.”

“I’m just thankful for life all around. From being on the streets, jumping from couch to couch, going from motel to motel, to having no money, having no food, not having a vehicle, not having our kids, to then having a job, having a vehicle, having a place to stay at night, having food, having meals provided for us, I’m thankful for it all.”


With the holidays coming up, they are all hoping to be in a place of their own. While Ralph and Lisa enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving meal at The Crossing last year, they were also able to enjoy their first holiday season in a long time with all of their kids.

“It was really nice to get all the kids together. We were sober, and it was nice,” Lisa said. And thanks to the kindness and support of others through the Mission, they can’t wait to do that again this year.

“I’m thankful for my sobriety, because if I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t have my family. If my sobriety goes then my family goes, everything goes. That’s first and foremost. With sobriety comes family, my kids, stability, and happiness.”


“It’s nice to see that they have things for holidays and know that they actually care about the people who stay here,” Lisa said.

“They’re caring, compassionate people and if something is going on you can always go talk to them and they give you the resources or help you.”

Now, with a Section 8 voucher, they are all looking forward to having their own place where they can continue to rebuild their relationships, establish a healthy community and utilize resources from the Mission. With a hopeful future of stability ahead of them, they are just grateful to be where they are now: together again.

“They’re caring, compassionate people and if something is going on you can always go talk to them and they give you the resources or help you.”


Thank You for Changing Lives

You have made a huge impact on Ralph, Lisa and their family and your generosity can continue to make a difference for so many more!

Download Full Newsletter

  • Harvesting Hope: A Family Reunited
  • The Mission in My Words: Larry Cook
  • Letter From Our VP of Programs