Posts by Stacy Parker

Stacy's Bio

Stacy Parker

Stacy is the Public Relations Coordinator serving all locations of Denver Rescue Mission. A Chicago transplant, she left the deep dish pizza and polar vortexes behind to make a new life in Denver along with her husband, Matt, and dog, Bailey. With years of marketing experience working at both non-profits and fast-paced digital agencies, Stacy felt God was calling her to find greater purpose in work and life. She was hired at the Mission in July 2015, and she’s blessed to be able to help serve those in need. She’s excited to see where the combination of Denver sunshine and God’s guiding hand will take her.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Did you know that April is National Alcohol Awareness month? Substance abuse is something we see frequently in Denver Rescue Mission’s New Life Program. Addiction can be all consuming and can drastically affect every area of someone’s life. However, our goal at the Mission is to ensure that every person who enters our New Life Program knows deep down that their addiction does not define them and that there is always hope for renewal and recovery.

This idea that “our mistakes do not define us” is important for us all to remember, especially those struggling with addiction. This verse from Psalms is one that our program participants reflect on often…

Psalm 25:7

Participants in our New Life Program often come to us struggling with addiction, without hope and without any connection to a stable community. They also struggle with maintaining employment and finding a stable place to live. Their abuse of alcohol and other substances is often a pathway used to cope with deeper issues. Our program provides them with the chance to deal with those deeper issues head-on, reestablish positive relationships, maintain a stable living environment, give them a sense of purpose through work readiness, and, ultimately, lead them into a spiritual connection with God.

No one knows more about teaching others the love of God and the power of His forgiveness than our New Life Program staff. I sat down with some of our program staff to get their perspective on alcohol awareness.

“[Our] staff embraces the Mission’s mission statement of ‘Changing lives in the name of Christ.’ We tell our New Life Program participants that they have a purpose in life and that they are gifted to accomplish many things.  The guidance of the Holy Spirit gives us the advantage to help our participants uncover and rediscover their gifts and guide them into becoming what God created them to be,” says Patrick Mary, Counselor & Clinical Supervisor at the Mission.

Every day in the New Life Program, which can last up to one and a half years, our participants are encouraged and counseled by our staff. One participant recalls life before the program, “Before, alcohol was killing me; today, I am really enjoying life, my wife, family sunrises, and sunsets. Finding God in the New Life Program has changed my life. Before, my work day was mundane; today, I am enjoying the work readiness program in the program.  I have rediscovered the truth of enjoying work.”

Our New Life Program recognizes the wisdom of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-Step Program, which, in a way, become a part of what we do. A Recovery Support Group – facilitated by Patrick Mary – meets weekly to inspire discussion, mutual encouragement, bonding, and sobriety. Along with elective groups, each participant is required to attend individual counseling and group sessions. These sessions are designed to “dig deeper” into childhood trauma and other issues related to present-day addictive behavior.

“It is a joy to see the transformation that occurs when freedom from bondage is realized,” says Steve Swihart, New Life Program Graduate Chaplain.

“A misconception exists that addiction or homelessness is simply a matter of will-power or choice. This is not always the case. Each participant that we come in contact with has a story. Each story comes with layers,” says Austin Morrow, Next Step Community Coordinator.

“The first step in correcting these misconceptions is to listen. Not just listening to someone’s problems and immediately trying to find a solution but truly listening to someone’s story and understanding that there are more layers than what may be seen initially. Addiction and homelessness can be difficult to understand.  It can be messy. But, through the love and grace of Christ, lives can be changed and misconceptions can be corrected,” adds Morrow.

“The Mission’s approach to helping people struggling with alcoholism isn’t going to be the right fit for every person who walks through our doors. But, over the years, I have seen so many lives change – fathers who reconnect with their children after years of being estranged, men who find newfound self-confidence and energy in their sobriety.”

This month, as we acknowledge Alcohol Awareness Month, it’s an important reminder that rehabilitation is a journey and it’s different for everyone. May we all listen a little more and judge a little less.

 

 

 (Contributors to this article include Austin Morrow, Zach Titus, Patrick Mary, Stephen Swihart.)

 

A Love Made Stronger

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In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I began reflecting on some of the wonderful couples I’ve had a chance to meet at Denver Rescue Mission. I’ve met the Lopez family who just moved into our STAR Transitional Program with their four children – both parents are working and trying save up money. I’ve chatted with couples at our banquet meals downtown who are grateful to have somewhere to go during the day where they can spend time together. Another couple that sticks out in my mind is Denise and Thomas Martin.

The Martin’s met back in October of 2012 and were married six short months later. “We’re always wanting to spend time together,” says Denise.

They’ve had their share of hardships — with Thomas suffering from an eye condition that prevented him from working and Denise battling heart problems and breast cancer. In fact, they were homeless for the first six months of their marriage and had to spend dozens of lonely nights in separate shelters. But, these two always seemed to find a way back to each other and soon they found solace in our STAR Transitional Program at The Crossing. The Martin’s lived at The Crossing for two years and were able to get their lives and health back on track.

Nearly a year after they graduated our program, I caught up with Denise and Thomas to see how they were doing. They were proud to report that they still live in a beautiful two bedroom apartment at Park Hill Station, an affordable housing complex just down the road from The Crossing.

What really strikes me is their steadfast faith. Even when their situation looked dire, they leaned on God, and each other, day in and day out. Denise reports that their health is doing much better and she attributes this to “God’s healing hand”.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Denise and Thomas are looking forward to spending a romantic evening together going to dinner and a movie and are thankful to now have a place to call home.

You can read more about their love story in the Mission’s Changing Lives newsletter and listen below to a piece of our conversation. 

As I make my own Valentine’s Day plans with my husband, Matt, and reflect on our three years of marriage, I feel inspired by the Martin’s love for each other and God and will always keep Denise’s words close to my heart…

“Make your priority God and if the other person is making their priority God, you’ve got a good foundation.” – Denise Martin 

 

Two Missions Go Head-to-Head for #SB50

It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without some friendly rivalry!

Our Denver Rescue Mission CEO has made a wager with the Charlotte Rescue Mission CEO out in Charlotte, North Carolina…

WHEN Denver WINS, the CEO of Charlotte Rescue Mission Tony Marciano has to do a video of himself doing a touchdown dance wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. If we lose, our CEO Brad Meuli will perform the dreaded “Newton dab” on the roof of Denver Rescue Mission while wearing a Cam Newton jersey.

#SB50MissionChallenge

“Each Rescue Mission works with people struggling with addiction, poverty and hopelessness” says Rev. Tony Marciano, CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. “We work with our residents each day to build a foundation of sobriety in order to return them as contributing members of society. Part of what we teach them is that they can be clean and sober and don’t have to get “high” or “drunk” to have a good time. We are modeling in front of them the very behavior we want them to embrace – enjoy life clean and sober.”

Like Denver Rescue Mission, the Charlotte Rescue Mission has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and those battling addictions.

Like Denver Rescue Mission, the Charlotte Rescue Mission has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and those battling addictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other reason for this challenge is to highlight the strong working partnership between both Rescue Missions. “Even though Rescue Missions operate independently, these two missions have been partnering together since 1998, sharing best practices to positively impact the people coming to them  seeking help and hope from their life crisis,” says Brad Meuli President and CEO of Denver Rescue Mission. “This challenge highlights our strong partnership to help people move beyond the crisis of experiencing homelessness.”

Two Missions. One cause. One BIG GAME!

Let’s go Broncos!!!

Trusting God With New Places & New Choices

As someone who just moved to Denver 39 days ago, there’s a lot to take in. My husband and I set off for Denver after living in Chicago for six years. Chicago is a great city and will always have a special place in my heart, but now that we’re here, I can honestly say that nothing beats Denver’s beautiful mountains and laid-back culture.

Chicago to Denver

One of my favorite parts of living here? I can breathe fresh air! It’s amazing to beable to step outside of the city atmosphere on any given day and get back to nature. Now, I just need to work on my Denverite lingo… cue “14ers” “LoHi” “RiNo” and “century rides.” I’m learning, Denver, just give me time!

New vocabulary aside, we’ve found a pretty incredible home here. What’s made it feel even more like home is my position at Denver Rescue Mission. Hunting for jobs in Denver while still living in Chicago was a tough gig. I was passed up by dozens of potential employers because I lived so far away, and we didn’t have the means to pay for a flight for interviews. Luckily, Denver Rescue Mission is rooted in faith and they kept this in mind when hiring me. After a few video interviews with our PR Director, Alexxa Gagner, and VP of Development, Griff Freyschlag, they offered me the PR Coordinator position. I was beyond thrilled. Alexxa and Griff had faith that I was the right fit for the position even without having the chance to meet me in person. They had to trust that God was putting me in the right place at the right time.

But recognizing when God is speaking to us and actually listening to his direction isn’t always easy to do.  I’ve lived 25 of my 28 years on this earth on a wandering path. As we learned recently in our Relationship Training Workshop at the Mission, sometimes people go through life “Sliding, Not Deciding”. I was the ultimate slider. I would find myself “sliding” into all sorts of negative situations without really thinking about the consequences. I never really defined what I stood for, the values I held close to my heart or what I wanted out of life.Trust in God

Little did I know, about four years ago God was doing some intensive work on my hardened heart. I had a constant void in my life before finding Christ. Now that He’s by my side, I’m learning to trust Him when I encounter tough decisions or new experiences—like moving to Denver and starting a new job. This didn’t happen overnight, and as a newer Christian, it’s still something I have to work at constantly. Sometimes we slip back into our old ways and think we’ve got it all under control when, in reality, that’s so far from the truth. For me, the important thing is understanding that we can choose God in even the smallest moments of our life, and this helps prevent us from sliding in unwanted directions.

I look forward to experiencing an even closer relationship with Christ while working at Denver Rescue Mission and serving those in need. With one slip, every single one of us could lose a job, suffer relationship problems or battle with silent addictions. We can’t forget how close we all are in this vast span of humanity, and in God’s eyes. I feel so encouraged and inspired to hear stories of how active God is at the Mission. I look forward to learning from and growing with our incredible guests, program participants and staff and create relationships that last a lifetime.

He created us to trust in Him. So, here we go God! Take the reins on my new Denver adventure!