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Letter from the CEO: July 2019

Brad Meuli

 

Letter from the CEO

Dear Friends,

Recently, I had the great honor of being asked to give the benediction at Denver Seminary’s graduation. I used a Franciscan Benediction that I believe is appropriate for a seminary graduate but it speaks to what we do at the Mission. This simple prayer has come to mean a lot to me, and I wanted to share it with you:

Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in the world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

We ask these things in Jesus’ name.

Amen

God Bless,

Brad Meuli

Brad Meuli President & CEO

 

Transformation starts with you

Donate to make an impact

Give Now

 

 

Also in this issue:

  • RiNo 5k
  • Wilderness Aware
  • A Chaplain’s Care
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now

Be The Example: Steven’s Path to Sobriety

Steven's story

Steven pictured with Chaplain Dan Dilley

Steven’s Story

365—the number of days Steven had been sober. As he sat on the bus back from his 12 Step Fellowship meeting, he rubbed his one-year chip between his fingers and contemplated how far he had come in that time to overcome his addiction to cocaine.

He had been in the Mission’s New Life Program (NLP) for 10 months and had found a temporary job. He felt fulfilled in the work he was doing, but was told a week prior that his time at the company would be ending soon. Steven had just accomplished something incredible—an entire year of being sober—yet, the thought of his job ending was weighing heavily on his mind as he took the bus back to The Crossing.

In the midst of all his thoughts, he hopped off the bus to catch the next connecting bus back. When he got off the bus he saw an old friend of his smoking cocaine.

“I’m watching him, and I knew that bus was notorious for drugs,” Steven said. “I went up to him and said ‘man, let me have just one hit of that.’ Of course, when you take one hit, it flips the whole script.”

“Be the example–that’s the best way I can help people experiencing homelessness.”

Steven didn’t return to his room at The Crossing that evening. Instead he spent the next three months using drugs, sleeping at the Lawrence Street Shelter or his car, and staying on the streets. He found himself once again at a low point in his life, not sure which direction to take.

“I remember sitting outside the Lawrence Street Shelter thinking how lost I had become. I thought, I’m better than this, a homeless crackhead. I realized the path I’m on will only lead to death,” Steven said.

Steven tried several other programs around Denver since he left, but always felt Jesus pulling him back to the Mission. After a great deal of thought, Steven was determined to re-enter the New Life Program. He admitted that his first time in the program his mindset wasn’t clear and he was simply just going through the motions.

“It’s all about Jesus,” Steven says. “You know the name of the Mission’s building downtown? It’s ‘Jesus Saves.’ That’s it—Jesus saves us!”

Feeling humbled by the past three months, Steven applied for the program and was accepted back in November of 2018. The Park Hill neighborhood, where The Crossing resides and where Steven was headed back to, was one he was all too familiar with—one he had known since he was 5-years-old. Steven’s childhood home sits nestled only blocks away from the program he was about to re-enter. It was at that house where Steven grew up, where he had his first smoke of marijuana, and where his life began to turn toward a path of drugs and addiction. However, heading back to this neck of the woods would be different this time around.

This time, he was set on being successful in all aspects of the program for himself, his family, but most importantly for his relationship with Jesus. He had seen really big miracles from people who followed the program. And, he was determined to be one this time around. In fact, in 2018 84 men graduated from the New Life Program.

Since Steven’s back in the program, he’s worked diligently in all aspects of the NLP to better himself by staying sober, learning how to become self-sufficient and becoming closer to Jesus. The computer, resume and authentic manhood classes are several learning opportunities that Steven says have helped him as he moves toward the life he has always envisioned. More importantly Steven says his relationship with his chaplain, Dan, is something that truly helped him become successful this time around. Steven often says, “I couldn’t have gotten this far without my chaplain.”

In April, Steven entered the working phase of the program and secured a job at a restaurant in downtown Denver—something he could only dream about several months prior as he sat outside the Mission addicted to drugs. When he’s asked about how he overcame so much hardship, he doesn’t skip a beat and says, “The New Life Program.”

With four months left in his program, Steven is embracing his new job opportunity and the expertise the NLP staff has to offer. He has high hopes of being the best version of himself in order to be the example for others who went through the same life experiences as he did.

“Be the example—that’s the best way I can help people experiencing homelessness,” Steven says. “If they see me doing good and they know I was out there on the streets with them…maybe someone will say, I can do it too. To someone who is struggling—there is a solution.”

You Helped Steven Overcome His Struggles…

Help more people overcome theirs by giving today

Change Lives

A Chaplain’s Care

For many of the men in the New Life Program, having access to a chaplain to lead and guide them is key to their success. Steven says he wouldn’t be where he is today without his chaplain, Dan Dilley. Learn more from Dan about how a chaplain plays an integral part in a participant’s journey.

HOW DO CHAPLAINS BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH NEW LIFE PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS?

The chaplain gets to spend literally hours and hours with the person, discussing things, as they are comfortable, at every end of the spectrum. In doing this we start to build trust and relationship. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR A PARTICIPANT TO HAVE A CHAPLAIN AS A PART OF THIS JOURNEY?

The chaplain prays for the participant on a regular basis. We like to say, “I can’t give you a new life but I know the One who can, and I’m going to point you to Him. His name is Jesus!” Plus, the chaplain is engaged in helping the men with important things like getting an ID, getting a Driver’s License, getting teeth, getting glasses, obtaining needed services, dealing with debt, dealing with legal issues, and the like.

WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING STEVEN’S CHAPLAIN?

Being a chaplain is the purest form of ministry I’ve ever been involved in. There are people waiting in line to allow us to tell them about the One who can give them a new life! That is amazing. What a privilege and honor to do this! Lord, help us to do this in a way that brings glory to Your Name!

 

Read the Full Newsletter

Also in this issue:


  • Letter from the CEO

  • RiNo 5k

  • Legacy Giving

  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now

Letter from Director: July 2019






Letter from
Director

Dear Friends,

Have you ever seen someone rise from the ashes of a disappointment or failure and regain their honor and dignity? It is one of the most satisfying feelings! It’s why we go to the movies, read great novels and inspiring non-fiction. It’s also why I feel so privileged to work at Denver Rescue Mission—Harvest Farm.

Phil’s story is one of many that I have witnessed where a man who was broken, traumatized, and profoundly lost found his way through the support and safety of Harvest Farm.

There are so many more stories every day at Harvest Farm. One young man, just paroled from a six year prison stint was tending to a goat who just birthed three babies. The runt was left to fend for itself and most likely starve, but this participant took to feeding the baby goat every 30 minutes until it strengthened and recovered. Now “Bella” follows him around the Farm, and the part of this man that cares and protects the weak arose from being long buried and beaten down.

Another recent graduate has a long history in the criminal drug world and struggled to redefine himself apart from that life. He’s experienced all that this world can offer him and found that what he really wants is a relationship with his daughters. Now he works hard and saves his money in order to move near them and be their father.

We believe God’s love transforms these men through their experiences with nature, our staff, and their own desire to live a more whole life.

Courageous people like Phil do all the hard work, the Harvest Farm staff walked with them every step of the way, and our amazing donors make it possible for Harvest Farm to be a sacred place of transformation. Thank you!

God Bless,

Brad Meuli

Seth Forwood
Director of Harvest Farm

 

Transformation starts with you

Donate to make an impact

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Positive Steps: One man’s journey out of darkness

Each path out of homelessness is unique to the individual. Regardless of statistics and pervasive societal issues, men and women have to address the problems that led them to the streets. Often, people have to deal with significant hurt and brokenness alongside their more overt destructive behaviors.

Philip’s path to homelessness started when he was very young. After being abandoned by his father, he was left in the care of a mom who had her own set of challenges, leading Philip to be raised by his grandmother. As a teenager, he began to feel the effects the abuse and absence of love from his parents, which led him to abusing alcohol.

After struggling with alcoholism for several years, Philip was introduced to crystal methamphetamine, changing his life forever. He found that this new drug left him feeling invigorated, full of life. Meth created a false sense of joy and suppressed his previous pull toward alcohol. He lost his job, his home and his sense of self.

Twelve years into his addiction with crystal meth, Philip attempted to take his life. “My mind played games with me that horrified me and drove me to insanity. God was with me in this desperate moment and He showed me a new way, His way,” he explains. Philip feels that God came to him in his darkest moment and guided him towards a better, brighter life for himself.

“All the brokenness was going to take time to
heal and I had to let the Holy Spirit work in me.” 

He began his journey of recovery at Denver Rescue Mission; two months later he joined the New Life Program at Harvest Farm in Wellington. He got rid of all of his belongings and left his old life behind. Philip chose to purge himself from all triggers his old life sparked. He came to the Farm without a single pair of socks to his name.

Surrounded by supportive staff and other men experiencing similar struggles and addictions, Philip had a newfound sense of hope. “All the brokenness was going to take time to heal and I had to let the Holy Spirit work in me,” he shares. “Daily, the Lord repaired and put the shattered pieces of my life back together.”

“Daily, the Lord repaired and put the
shattered pieces of my life back together.” 

During his time at the Farm, Philip aspired to go to college and pursue a nursing career. He wanted to take positive steps toward living a successful, Godly life. “In the beginning, school was hard for me because of the self-defeatist belief system that I had about myself that had to be dismantled,” he describes. The support and love he received from the Harvest Farm staff was invaluable. Lee, one of the Agriculture Supervisors, was especially helpful to Philip. With Lee’s kind, gentle manner he served as a role model. Philip developed a brotherhood within the Farm community that still exists today.

It took time for Philip to gain the confidence he needed to overcome his fears and sense of inadequacy. “I was insecure, fearful and didn’t have a direction in life. When I decided to become a nurse, I was propped up on the shoulders of the Harvest Farm giants that showed me the way to lead a disciplined life that is fruitful and pleasing to the Lord,” he explains. As Philip opened himself up to those around him, he found that others were very complimentary. They expressed their admiration for his compassion, bravery, and professionalism.

Philip graduated from Harvest Farm in June of 2017. He is currently in his third semester of Nursing School at Front Range Community College. The journey to sobriety and self-sufficiency wasn’t an easy one. Philip worked step by step with the support of staff members to rid himself of his previous destructive behaviors and low self-esteem. He truly sought to “put on the new self” (Ephesians 4:22-24) and transform his life, from the inside out. Philip committed himself to the program and the Lord. Additionally, he has reconnected with his mother. They are working on their relationship. Philip has made the effort to understand his mother’s choices when he was growing up. He is excited to graduate this winter and pursue his new career. He also aspires to own his first home and eventually receive his Masters in Nursing.

You Helped Philip Take Positive Steps…

Help more people out of the darkness

Change Lives

 

Download the Full Newsletter

Also in this issue:


  • Letter from the Director

  • Updated Statistics

  • Kitchen Volunteers

  • Why Fort Collins Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now

Hit a Home Run Against Hunger

Join the Colorado Rockies, King Soopers and Denver Rescue Mission for the “Hit a Home Run Against Hunger” drive.

Join the Colorado Rockies, King Soopers and Denver Rescue Mission for the “Hit a Home Run Against Hunger” drive.

Please bring nonperishable or canned food items to the Colorado Rockies game on Friday, June 28 to help feed the poor and hungry in our community!

And when you shop at King Soopers from June 23 through July 20, be sure to show your support by making a monetary donation as you check out.

For more information please contact Lisette at Lisette@DenRescue.org or 303.313.2414

Break the Stigma: Myths About Homelessness

 

HOMELESSNESS: Myths Vs. Facts

 

PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS DON’T WANT TO GET A JOB.

The Fact is…

Experts at the National Coalition for the Homeless estimated that between 40 and 60 % of the homeless population in the United States have jobs.

However, most of those jobs are entry level, minimum wage positions. In Denver, if a person is making minimum wage, he or she would have to work 74 hours a week to afford a modest, one bedroom rental home at fair market rent. Even if a person did “roll up their sleeves” and work 74 hours a week, other obstacles still remain—groceries, utilities, transportation, insurance, child care, etc. Many people in our city simply do not make enough income to afford a rental apartment or home without some form of longterm assistance. This is why we offer a program called Family Rescue Ministry, which provides first month’s rent and deposit along with a mentor team. So, although research continuously shows that people experiencing homelessness have jobs, unfortunately, just getting a job isn’t the end-all solution.

 

HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE ADDICTS, SO IT’S THEIR FAULT THEY’RE HOMELESS

The Fact is…

Of the people enrolled in our programs, the number one reason they give for becoming homeless is job loss.

Other common reasons people become homeless are lowered wages, a health care crisis, increased rent, or a family emergency. For those who do struggle with addictions, mental illness is often at the root of their challenges. People living with mental health disorders are particularly vulnerable to drug and alcohol use. Rather than addiction causing homelessness, it’s more accurate to know mental illness can cause addictive behaviors and unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can lead to homelessness. Many of the people we serve tell us they grew up in homes with abuse, neglect and trauma. In critical development years, they never learned healthy coping skills or how to develop supportive relationships.

 

HOMELESS SHELTERS ARE JUST ENABLING HOMELESSNESS

The Fact is…

Our shelter system is designed to empower people Who are experiencing homelessness to pursue a path off the street.

Without shelters, people experiencing homelessness would not have basic resources for survival. Emergency services provide safety, dignity and hope. Places like our Lawrence Street Shelter and Lawrence Street Community Center provide these basic resources—meals, showers, laundry, drinking water, restrooms, electrical outlets, and safe places off the street and out of the elements. All of our emergency services facilities are staffed with employees who engage with guests, fostering relationships and offering information about our programs and services like Next Step, which is designed to guide people to find permanent and sustainable housing.

 

HOMELESSNESS IS SUCH A BIG CHALLENGE. THERE’S NOTHING I CAN DO.

THE FACT IS…
You can do something.

Donate today and bring hope and lasting change to the lives of people experiencing homelessness.

Change Lives

   

Read the Full Newsletter

        Also in this issue:
  • Letter from the CEO
  • Father’s Day Celebration
  • Hit a Home Run Against Hunger
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now

Letter from the CEO: June 2019

Brad Meuli

 

Letter from the CEO

Dear Friends,

Recently, there were some phone calls that came into St. Francis Center, a day shelter not too far from the Mission, and Denver Rescue Mission. The calls were like some others we have received in the past, where we are told that “our people on the street” are creating problems of one kind or another. (The caller meant the homeless people we serve.) FOX 31 News heard about this, and I was asked to comment.

In the interview I said, “People that are homeless are all our people. They’re not just Denver Rescue Mission people, they’re not just St. Francis people, they’re everybody’s people. And what we need to do is continue our efforts to make sure that we take care of people who are out there experiencing homelessness.”

Really, we are all God’s people, and he has called us to look after those who are struggling, who are poor, who are hungry, and destitute. Because of this, we are all in this together. No one organization, no one ministry, no one city department is responsible for solving the challenges surrounding homelessness. We have to keep working on this together, grinding it out and trying to impact one person at a time.

Most of us have a family member, or a friend, or know someone who has been homeless, who has lost their job or suffered from an addiction that has caused all kinds of problems. The truth is, these folks, are just like you and me. Most of us are just one paycheck or one catastrophe from homelessness. This is where we step in at Denver Rescue Mission, when there is no place else to go, we are the light at the end of the tunnel. Please continue to join us in making a difference, in providing hope to…our people, your people, my people. We are in this together.

God Bless,

Brad Meuli

Brad Meuli President & CEO

 

Help God’s people today

Donate to make an impact

Give Now

 

 

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • Father’s Day Celebration
  • Hit a Home Run Against Hunger
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now

Mother’s Day Magic!

Moving Forward

“Mom turned upside down is WOW!”

The definition of mom in the Webster’s Dictionary reads, “One’s mother.”

But for those who work at Denver Rescue Mission, we believe the definition of “mom” goes much further than that. In fact, we’d go as far to say the moms we serve embody true love and compassion. They are some of the strongest females we know. They are beautiful inside and out. And, they are our heroes day in and out.

The mothers we work with have overcome many obstacles in their lives. Despite these challenges, they’ve worked hard to get onto the path of self-sufficiency and into the STAR Transitional program or Family Rescue Ministry program.

The Mission staff member’s aren’t the only ones who think our moms are the best of the best. But, their very kids believe their moms are just as spectacular as us.

2

When you ask 6-year-old Araiah what her favorite thing about her mom is she says, “I love her 100%. She feeds us and does fun stuff with us.”

 

2

10-year-old Alaiza also had a sweet thank you message for her mom too, “Thank you for helping us and keeping us healthy and safe.”

 

We are in awe of all the moms we serve not just this Mother’s Day, but every single day. From our Denver Rescue Mission family, we are wishing the best Mother’s Day ever!

Letter From the CEO: May 2019

Brad Meuli

 

Letter from the CEO

Dear Friends,

I am often asked, “How do we solve the issue of homelessness?” During my 20 years at the Mission, I have learned there is no single solution to solving this complex issue. If there was, we would have used it to solve this problem!

Helping people experiencing homelessness takes a collaborative effort. The more people involved with this issue, the better. City government, neighbors, businesses, other service providers, the faith community, and volunteers all make solutions happen. Partners who are in this with us are invaluable in helping people become productive, self-sufficient citizens.

This month’s newsletter talks about, and celebrates, four of these partners. Frankly, we could not list all of the partners we have worked with in our efforts to move people out of poverty, but we are so thankful for all of them.

Many of our partners never get credit, but they really are unsung heroes. Sometimes, organizations we work with do what they do out of faith beliefs, sometimes because they just care, but all of them do it because they believe—like us—that helping people is good and the right thing to do. I hope you will enjoy reading about these four partners and will think about what you, your friends, your church, or maybe your company might be able to do to partner in this critical work.

Let me finish with this quote, “You can tell a man’s [or woman’s] character by what he [or she] does for others who can do nothing for him [or her].”

These four partners, like you—our donors and volunteers—are people of character. Thank you for your partnership!

God Bless,

Brad Meuli

Brad Meuli President & CEO

 

Donate Today! And Help People

Experiencing Homelessness Move Forward

Give Now

 

Read the Full Newsletter

May 2019 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Mother’s Day at the Mission
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Rockie’s Cleanup

Download Now

Moving Forward: How We Work Together To Change Lives

Moving Forward

When she speaks, Margarita does so with a wisdom that only comes with age. She’s from Barcelona and moved to the states to go to college (she graduated from UC Berkeley). She used to live in a duplex, but when they raised the rent, Margarita could no longer afford to pay it.

She’s been experiencing homelessness in Denver for three years. One Thursday, while she was sitting in the Lawrence Street Community Center, we sat down with her and she shared some of her wise words with us. “Some days I go through things that make me want to pull my hair out,” she said. “Some days I just want to [give up]. But I know that’s not the answer. For me, the answer is to help someone. I never let a day pass that I don’t help somebody. I think that if you help someone move forward—you move forward.”

She isn’t alone; we couldn’t agree more. Because of you, we’ve been helping people move forward for 127 years. And it’s not just us, it’s our partners, too.

 

Help people Move Forward

Donate now and help people like Margarita move forward.

Change Lives

 

Hear are a few ways your donations help us collaborate with organizations and make a difference.

1

HOUSING RESOURCES

“[OneHome] works with the Mission on improving access to housing resources for people experiencing homelessness enrolled in Next Step,” said Bethany MaynardMoody, OneHome program manager. “The ultimate goal is to work together to end homelessness, and not one organization can do that alone, so if we all work together, then that collective impact is quite powerful.” Together, with Bethany and her team, we are finding housing resources through their coordinated entry database for our Next Step members, and our partnership is already having a big impact. This year, 278 people in Next Step have successfully moved out of our shelters and found a path toward housing.

2

WELLNESS AND FAMILY

Every year, dozens of our New Life Program participants work out with Mark McIntosh and his team of volunteers at A Stronger Cord. They have four gyms in the metro area, all focused on challenging each other to become more fitness-minded, dependable and productive. They have a saying, “It all starts with the workout,” says Mark, founder of A Stronger Cord. Of course, Mark and his team believe exercise is important to our health, but they also believe it’s about something more than just being in shape. “When you spend time with these guys experiencing homelessness,” said Mark, “you begin to realize that a lot of them don’t have a family. For us, it’s not just about the workout, it’s about the relationships and the community that comes with pursuing wellness. It’s about family.”

3

AN ATMOSPHERE OF LEARNING AND SUCCESS

Upon moving into The Crossing, our transitional living facility, parents have to make a decision to keep their children at their original school or transfer them to our neighborhood schools in Park Hill. The STAR youth program, in partnership with Denver’s Homeless Education Network, provides guidance for parents on how to make the best choice for each child. Once a decision is made, the Homeless Education Network helps provide school uniforms, meal assistance and transportation needs. “Homeless Education Network is a true blessing to our families,” said Joe Bermingham, Denver Rescue Mission’s youth program coordinator. “School and education are important for our youth, and our partnership creates an atmosphere of learning and success; they remove barriers, providing avenues for homeless children to have a successful school experience.”

4

MEALS

Your donations, coupled with the contributions of We Don’t Waste, help us provide thousands of meals every day. “We Don’t Waste is one of our most important food partners,” said Jeremy Stubbs, food distribution coordinator at the Mission. “Because of them, we always have fresh vegetables, fruit and other essentials on-hand.” Since 2009, We Don’t Waste has recovered more than 30,000,000 meals for people in need. They deliver food to more than 60 human services agencies (plus about 130 more through partner redistribution), and we are thankful to be one of their partners. “We’re proud of the partnership that has been created, fostered and grown with Denver Rescue Mission,” said Arlan Preblud, founder and executive director at We Don’t Waste. “[Together, we are making a] lasting impact on serving those less fortunate in our community.”

Read the Full Newsletter

May 2019 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • Mother’s Day Celebration
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

Download Now