12 4 Y E A R S O F S E R V I C E
“I’M REALLY GRATEFUL FOR THE MISSION AND HOW THE LORD WORKED THROUGH THEM.” Leslie, STAR Program graduate
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
“I REMEMBER BEING SO LOST. I WAS HOMELESS, AND NO ONE WANTED TO BE AROUND ME. All I wanted to do was fight, drink and use drugs. That was my life …. I didn't have any goals. Something wasn't right in my life, and I needed a change.”
the dog days of summer come to an end as the beginning of a new school year starts for many students in colorado. Children and parents alike are catching the back-to-school spirit as they buy pencils, notebooks and other supplies, and college students are preparing for an exciting semester.
But imagine being a homeless, middle-aged woman who never finished high school, working hard to go to college for the first time. That’s Leslie’s experience. However, that’s not where her story begins. “I grew up with an absent father, and my mother wasn't very loving to me. … She basically took me out of school,” Leslie says, explaining how she dropped out of high school before she was 16 and got a job at a restaurant on Federal Boulevard.
One day, a co-worker invited Leslie to come shopping with her. She agreed, but did not tell her mother. When her mother found out, she was angry. “I went to pick up my check, and my mom just dropped me off,”
Leslie explains. “When I came back outside, she was gone. I finally got in touch with her, but she said, ‘Well, you made your plans, so you just go ahead and stay there.’ I didn't know where I was going to stay that night, and I didn't have any of my clothes.”
Homeless and alone at just 16 years old, Leslie was scared. But thankfully, her assistant manager and his wife opened their home to her. A year later, she reconnected with a childhood friend. They had three children together before their relationship fell apart, and when they separated, he took the children.
“I was devastated. I started drinking and eventually started using drugs,” she says. “That's when I first started getting into trouble with the law.”
For the next several years, she was in and out of jail repeatedly. “It was just a life of destruction,” she explains.
In 1993, she met a man whom she later married. “We were homeless and living a drug-ridden life,” she says. Together with her husband, she continued to struggle, including experiencing a brief battle with breast cancer at 37 years old.
“Everybody was sick of me,” she explains. “I was sick of myself. I told God I didn't even want to live and that he would have to show me that he was real.” Desperate and looking for help, Leslie and her husband finally found the STAR Transitional Program at The Crossing.
When they first came to the Mission, Leslie found a job just a few blocks away, but the intense work became difficult. “Being in my forties, I was exhausted after 10-hour days of hard labor. Our bodies would hurt so much,” she explains. “So when a friend suggested we go to school, I decided to go for it.”
Although she dropped out of high school, Leslie had earned her GED in prison, so she applied to Community College of Denver and started taking 14 credit hours in August 2007. “I really enjoyed it,” she says smiling, “and I had a 4.0 GPA.” At first, she wanted to take classes in healthcare, remembering how it felt to be a breast cancer survivor, but she settled on an Associate's Degree in Human Services, and graduated in 2012.
As Leslie finished the STAR program, she discovered that she had a difficult choice to make. “As I grew closer to the Lord, my husband and I started growing apart,” she says. They eventually decided to separate, and as a result, Leslie started praying that God would provide them each with separate apartments. When they graduated, Leslie and her husband each found separate places
since graduating the program. “I'm really grateful for the Mission and how the Lord worked through them,” she says. “I didn't even know there was something like the STAR program out there. It really helped me change and move forward into God's calling on my life. The biggest thing I learned at the Mission was to not give up.” Living Disciples Christian Center, the church she attended while in the program, is still her church today, and she hosts meetings and Bible studies in her apartment during the week. “I'm very grateful for the church I have,” she says. “I'm where I am today because of the Lord and how he worked through the Mission.”
Thank you for making Leslie’s changed life possible. Because of your support, people like Leslie in our STAR Transitional Program and New Life Program “It was hard, are able to get but I loved reading the support, and doing my encouragement and Today, Leslie is a driver for a national rideshare company. homework,” she She says the flexible schedule and her degree in Human Services training they need says. “The Mission allows her to continue serving her church in unique ways. to change their gave me the circumstances. And opportunity to study and access to to live. “It was just a small little some of them even go on to further a computer lab so that I could finish apartment,” she says, “but it was education and achieve more than my assignments on time—that's mine. I was so happy.” they ever thought possible! how they helped me. If I had Leslie says she’s grateful for been anywhere else, that Look for Leslie’s story on the Mission’s everything she’s been able to do wouldn’t have happened.” Facebook page: Facebook.com/DenverRescue.
Donate today to help more people like Leslie transition out of homelessness and into a new and better life!
Letter from the CEO
Golf Tournament Hit a hole-in-one to fight homelessness!
This year, Back to School season is going to be a little different at my house than it has been for the last 32 years. With five children and a wife who was a teacher for many years, the phrase “Back to School” has always had a big impact on my family. It’s been more than just a saying, it’s been a way of life. It’s been as powerful as a change in seasons, and as significant as a birthday or a holiday. But this year, with all my children graduated and my wife recently retired from teaching, it will be an odd year for us. (I may have to go buy a new school backpack, some #2 pencils and some college-ruled notebooks just for old times’ sake!) Although Back to School season will look a little different for us this year, those three words will always represent hope. For the people we work with at the Mission, education is often one of the keys to escaping the bondage of poverty. This is why our New Life Program includes an important education component, and all our participants go through these classes. We call it LEC, which stands for LifeSkills, Education and Career Development. Education is also one of the reasons why our Denver Broncos Youth Center at The Crossing asks volunteers to help kids in the STAR Transitional Program during Homework Club. We believe in education. So this year, when you think about Back to School, think of us and the people we serve who need your help to move from a life of poverty to a life of hope. Thank you for partnering with us in this great work. God Bless,
Brad Meuli President/CEO
Join us at Denver Rescue Mission’s Golf Tournament for a fun day of golf for a good cause! It’s only $90 per person and includes registration, a golf cart and a delicious lunch. When: Friday, September 23
Where: Broadlands Golf Course 4380 W. 144th Ave., Broomfield, CO 80023 Contact Lisette at 303.313.2414 or LWilliams@DenRescue.org to learn more.
Thank You, Wilderness Aware! Mission program participants and staff held on tight for an amazing whitewater rafting experience thanks to our friends at Wilderness Aware in Buena Vista, CO.
In total, 120 program participants and staff joined in this thrilling ride over, around and through the twists and turns of Browns Canyon. We want to say a special thank you to all the guides and staff at Wilderness Aware for making this possible for our program participants, many of whom have never experienced something like this before. The trip was challenging and fun, and a great lesson on teamwork. Thanks for making this special event possible!
Statistics How You Help June
Are you ready to shop ‘til you drop for a good cause?
The 11th annual Shopping Extravaganza is happening Saturday, September 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Outlets at Castle Rock. Tickets cost $25 and include lunch, a dessert bar, entertainment and live music! But the best part is, $12.50 from every ticket sold will help provide meals and critical services to the homeless in our community through Denver Rescue Mission. Purchase tickets online at OutletsAtCastleRock.com.
No hormones. No antibiotics. Pasture born and pasture raised. $4.50/lb hanging weight, sold in quarters.
Get ready for your final summer cookouts with Harvest Farm All-Natural Beef ! Harvest Farm is the Mission’s very own working farm in Wellington, Colorado where men in the New Life Program work to overcome homelessness and addiction. Contact Brad Rhoda at BRhoda@denrescue.org or 970.568.9803 to learn more.
Remember to select Denver Rescue Mission as your charity!
Check the box on the enclosed reply card to receive your copy of “Find Your Name in the Faith ‘Hall of Fame’” today.
Denver Rescue Mission Outreaches
Harvest Farm Rural rehabilitation program near Fort Collins
In this new FREE brochure, you can learn more about great reasons to leave a legacy of faith through a gift from your estate.
Champa House Residential facility offering long-term help toward self-sufficiency to single mothers with dependent children
Clothing distributed (lbs.)
Many faithful supporters like you have decided to remember Denver Rescue Mission with a gift in their Will.
Lawrence Street Shelter Overnight shelter for men, chapel and health clinic
Nights of shelter provided
Did you know?
Lawrence Street Community Center Meals, restrooms, showers, washing machines and dryers, clean drinking water, and access to Mission staff for encouragement and guidance
YTD (fiscal year)
Fort Collins Rescue Mission Meals, shelter and transitional programs The Crossing Transitional program for families and rehabilitation program for men
Clinic services provided
Changing Lives is the monthly news publication of Denver Rescue Mission. Director of Communications: Christine Gallamore Designer: Rachel Titus Writer: Robert Bogan
Ministry Outreach Center Central warehouse facility including food, clothing and furniture distribution Administration & Education Entry point for Mission programs and home to the Mission’s administrative and development staff Family Services Transitional program, assistance for permanent housing, and mentoring
P.O. Box 5164 • Denver, CO 80217 • 303.297.1815