Homeless to Hope
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE,N.M.(ANS) — Patricia never expected to be at Joy Junction Homeless Shelter, but who does?
Richie and his mother, Patricia Troubles for Patricia, 54, and her son Richie, 27, began in Arkansas when she couldn’t pay the rent. She had no job, no money and no reserve funds available to tap into. Patricia said she and Richie were brought to New Mexico by her daughter’s ex father-in- law. She said, “We were living with another family member … and they got evicted because only one of them had been paying the bills. The other one was on drugs. We heard about Joy Junction from a family friend. That was 19 months ago.” Patricia said that Joy Junction has done so much for her. She continued, “It has kept us off the street, and has kept me from going back to a life of drugs and alcohol. I had a past history of drug and alcohol abuse.” She praised the shelter’s life recovery program, CIPP, or the Christ in Power Program. Patricia said, “The nine month program has helped me be a stronger person and renewed my faith. It’s brought me closer to God by going through the classes and being able to pray more. I wasn’t praying as much as I am now. It has helped me be more a whole lot more appreciative of the things I have, as well as being (thankful for) people trying to help me. Now I want to help others who are in the same situation as me.”
She said that not surprisingly, staying alcohol and drug free has helped improve her relationship with her son. Patricia added, “The program has helped us … get closer together mentally, and it has made me see the error of my ways when raising my son.” Patricia said, “Richie doesn’t hate me anymore. It has also helped him with spiritual guidance, and he’s come out of his shell and made friends.” She added, “He and I talk to each other more, help each other more and are there for each other. It has made me a better parent. He had a lot of questions about faith and talking with Chaplain Gene he’s found some (answers). He found a place in this world where he can talk to people and is now willing to talk to and help others as well. He smiles a lot more these days.” Richie said, “Joy Junction helped me with my anger and my depression issues. Being in the life recovery classes helped me come out of the shell I was in. It also gave me the confidence to do things by myself. Before I got here I wouldn’t talk to anyone.” Richie added, “I appreciate Joy Junction allowing us to be in the life recovery program to make the changes I needed in mine and my mom’s life.”
Patricia recalled talking to a former staff member, who she described as being “very sweet and helpful when I called for us to come in. Every one of the staff members here is a godsend.” Patricia added, “I want to thank Dr. Reynalds personally for having a place where people can go who need to talk to someone who have been abused in every way. We need more places like Joy Junction in this world. It has helped me come to terms with the things in my life that I didn’t want to face for over 35 years without breaking down and crying. (Now I’m not such) an angry, bitter and hateful person.” She concluded, “I would like them to help me with more spiritual guidance. I haven’t felt this good in 45 years. It feels good to laugh again.”Diana Lane, a driver at Joy Junction, said she has noticed significant changes in both Patricia and Richie. She said, “Patricia has become more friendly and helpful. She’s starting to enjoy her life.” The changes in Richie are even more significant,” Diana added. “He has more incentive now and never says he can’t or won’t. Now he says he can and will.”
Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org/, He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “Homeless in the City.”
Additional details on “Homeless in the City” are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.com/. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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