Tony is a 2011 graduate of the New Life Program who was recently featured in our Changing Lives newsletter in September 2022.
The following Q&A was originally featured in our 2017 Annual Report, titled “Changing the Story.” We hope you enjoy this look back at Tony’s story as we celebrate what God has done in his life with him and his family.
See more of Tony’s story, including new photos of the family and their adorable dog in our September 2022 Changing Lives Newsletter: Finding Solid Ground.
Q: What Situations Brought You To the Mission?
A: When I came to the Mission, I was addicted to alcohol, and I was a slave to my addiction. My life had become unmanageable. I was homeless and heard about the New Life Program. I knew that I needed help, so I joined.
Q: What Was the Most Valuable Thing You Gained In the New Life Program?
A: The New Life Program gave me a safe place to establish a foundation of sobriety and learn about God. While I was there, I realized that my way of doing things had gotten me nowhere. I came to faith in Jesus Christ through repentance, turning away from the things I was used to doing before and deciding to follow him. I learned many things in the program, but establishing a relationship with God was the most important thing the Mission helped me do.
Tony and his family back in 2017 when we featured them in our 2017 Annual Report.
Q: What Inspired You to Become a Donor and Financially Support Denver Rescue Mission?
A: The Mission depends on the support of financial partners. Without charity, the program would not exist. I know that’s the reason I was able to get help. The Mission also does a lot of great things to help clothe, feed and shelter the homeless. I experienced it firsthand. I lived it, and I want to help provide that opportunity for others. I will never forget my time at The Crossing and what the people who work for the Mission did to help me.
Q: With So Many Homeless Outreach Organizations Available In Denver, Why Do You Choose to Support Denver Rescue Mission Specifically?
A: I feel like I am a walking testimony of what Denver Rescue Mission does to help people. I was completely and utterly desolate, and they gave me hope. They teach life-skills classes, they teach people about the gospel and the New Life Program’s work-therapy emphasis is proven to work. I know they give men and women the resources they need to get back on their feet and become productive, self-sufficient citizens again. I’m living proof. I don’t know any other organization that works on such a personal level to change someone’s life and point them toward a relationship with God.
Q: What Are You Doing for Work These Days? How Did Your Experience at the Mission Help Prepare You for Your Life Today?
A: I am a special education and math teacher at an alternative high school here in Denver. I teach 11th and 12th graders with disabilities and significant support needs. These kids are at risk of not graduating by the time they are referred to our school. I primarily teach math, but I also provide reading and writing interventions, as well as case manage students and write some of their education and transition plans.
Since we are a small school, I can really get to know every student and help them develop a plan for life after high school. I help them get the skills they need to help them realize their goals. Those are the parts of my job I love the most.
A lot of these kids are not in the best place when they come to our school. I obviously wasn’t in a good place when I came to the Mission, so it helps me empathize. I get a chance to help these kids get back on track. Also, God has helped me to become more patient, which can really help me with my job.
The New Life Program also allowed me to finish school while I was there. I took six classes a semester to finish my degree and get my teaching license. I was able to do this while I was in the program because I didn’t have to worry about paying bills or providing for my basic needs. Other friends I made in the program used their time to work and save money for a place to live when they graduated.
Q: Tell Us About Your Family. How Does It Feel to Have a New Life After Graduating?
A: My wife, Jill, and I just celebrated our fifth anniversary, and our daughter, Judy, turns four next week. They are both beautiful, loving people. They are gifts from God. I am so blessed. We are also homeowners, and we are firmly planted in a community church where our daughter goes to school.
I went from a life of desolation to an abundant life. Denver Rescue Mission gave me a firm place to stand while I established sobriety, learned to know God and put my life back together. I
t wouldn’t have been possible without the people who support the Mission. That’s why I give to the Mission today. The sign outside The Crossing says “Changing Lives in the Name of Christ.” It helped change my life, and my donations give me the opportunity to pay it forward.