ABCNews.com featured a beautiful story this week about a woman named Delora who spent twenty years of her life addicted to drugs, in jail, homeless, and in and out of rehab five times.
The last time Delora decided to get clean of drugs, she meant it. And, she credits the holistic ministry she found at The Salvation Army’s First Choice program in Fort Worth, Texas with much of her success.Â She needed a place to live:Â she got one. She needed the support of firm, caring counselor: she got that too.Â And she learned important life skills at First Choice that she’d never mastered in her previous life. Things like meal preparation, budgeting, stress management, etc.
Her story is proof positive that simply moving homeless people into “affordable housing” isn’t the answer. Years spent living on the street, battling addictions, and brushes with the law doesn’t prepare people to live on their own productively. The only way to help people whose lives have become chaotic like Delora’s is to give them plenty of time in a supportive environment to learn new ways of coping with life.
Delora has done that and so much more. After receiving her associate degree from junior college in 2004, Delora graduated from University of North Texas on December 13 – magna cum laude – with a degree in rehabilitation studies.
The mother of four works as a drug counselor at Hutchins State Jail and will begin pursuing her master’s degree later this month and her her long-range goal of becoming a prison chaplain.
Reading stories like Delora’s are one of the great benefits of working for The Salvation Army. No, they don’t all turn out like Delora’s but by God’s grace, so many of them do.
Congratulations Delora! (read more about her story at ABCNews.com)