Every person encounters difficulties in life, but for those with weak or nonexistent support networks, difficulties can all too easily become crises. Bay Area Rescue Mission works with people in the Bay Area who are experiencing homelessness, substance abuse and other life-constraining problems. We give them hope, help them see a direction forward, provide them with support and resources, and often, thankfully, help them overcome difficulties and make new, fulfilling lives for themselves. Three of our clients wanted to share their successes with you.
Gabriele had built a good life: a successful marriage with two daughters, a nice home and work she liked. But after becoming a stay-at-home mother, she found it difficult to acclimate to the lifestyle change, and began drinking wine on front porches with other housewives. She became an alcoholic and life as she knew it began slipping away. She returned to work and stepped away from alcohol, but when her longtime marriage fell apart, she relapsed and lost her job. Worse, she lost her health. Diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, she was given two years to live. She made her way to our Women’s Discipleship Program. Inspired by her childhood connection to God, she rediscovered that strength. Now she looks forward to graduating from school, finding work, getting her own apartment and healing the relationship with her children. Recent blood work indicates that her liver has healed. “I now have strength, structure, sobriety and knowledge. I’m the Gabby I’m supposed to be,” she said.
Jeremy was abused by his mother and stepfather as a little boy. His grandmother rescued him at the age of six when she obtained custody, but he says damage had already been done. “I turned to drugs and alcohol in my teens,” he said. Over the ensuing years, addiction began ruling his life, alienating him from his son and other family members as he became “a full-blown addict.” Having heard about our mission from a friend, Jeremy recalls feeling called by God to come to Bay Area Rescue Mission, where he found authenticity in our staff. “They prayed for me and a feeling came over me that I’d never felt before. I met the Lord,” he said. He got involved in the Men’s Discipleship Program, where he is now a leader for new men joining the program. He will soon finish the program and plans to complete a computer certification course and find a job. “I’m excited to be a productive member of society again.”
Sharica was in a physically and emotionally abusive long-term relationship. She left it after seven years, but neither of two recovery programs proved to be the right fit for her. “I had nowhere to go,” she said. “I had nothing. I’d hit rock bottom.” She learned about Bay Area Rescue Mission through an aunt, who found her on the street. She entered our Women’s Discipleship Program, and while she had a connection with God earlier, it has since grown, helping her find purpose in her life. She credits BARM staff with playing a significant role in her healing and personal growth, by being real. “I needed somebody to tell me the truth,” she said. She plans to graduate from the program, get her own housing, and get an education to become a psychologist so she can help others find their way. “The Rescue Mission staff made me see things from a whole new perspective. I look at life in a good way now and I’m so grateful.”
Contact the Bay Area Rescue Mission and let us know how you can help us carry hope forward for the homeless community we serve. Call us at (510) 215-4555. BARM changes lives by providing emergency shelter, meals, and many other services in the Bay area. We are located at 200 Macdonald Avenue in Richmond.