This summer, I was proud to witness a “New Beginning” for nearly 400 people graduating from the recovery programs at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). And what a celebration it was! The graduates were formerly homeless, addicted or disadvantaged and had remained drug- and alcohol-free for at least 90 days. Some of the graduates completed DRMM’s transitional housing program or obtained a GED. Our educational partners, such as Wayne County Community College District, helped the graduates gain a variety of skills in areas such as computer hardware and software, culinary arts, residential wiring, customer service, Web and graphic design, video production and landscaping.
A particularly emotional highlight of this year’s ceremony was the presentation of a car to DRMM graduate Stephen Day. Stephen was moved to tears as I presented him with keys to a 1995 Chrysler LeBaron convertible that had been donated to the Rescue Mission. The crowd joined in Stephen’s joy and excitement by rising to their feet in thunderous applause. Stephen received the automobile as a reward for making such a tremendous change in his life.
Let me tell you about Stephen’s amazing story. As a teenager, he was an alcoholic and later a crack cocaine addict. Despite his addictions, he graduated from high school, attended trade schools, and held jobs as a machinist and truck driver. But his life fell apart when began to experience blackouts and DUI arrests. He lost his truck driver job and became homeless. Repeated attempts at sobriety failed until Stephen came to the Detroit Rescue Mission last year. His transformation began with substance abuse treatment at our Christian Guidance Center (CGC). Today, Stephen has completed a year of college, made the dean’s list, and received an invitation to join Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. He works full-time as a resident specialist at a DRMM facility and has paid off outstanding tickets in order to get his driver’s license reinstated. Stephen is pursuing a degree in mental health services.
Isn’t this proof that everyone deserves a New Beginning?