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A Run Toward Recovery

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A Run Toward Recovery

Denver Adult Rehabilitation Center’s physical health regimen

This story was originally featured in Caring Magazine, a publication of The Salvation Army Western Territory.

Sarah Lewis lived an active lifestyle. An avid runner and soccer player, she couldn’t recall a time when athletics weren’t a part of her life. However, after she finished high school she began using drugs, which grew into an addiction. Consequently, her physical health suffered and her passion for physical fitness dwindled.

“I lost that part of myself in my addiction,” Lewis said. She eventually enrolled in Denver’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), where she received treatment and rediscovered her affinity for exercise.

Last May, the Denver ARC joined with Feet on the Street, which organizes 5K and 10K races in Denver, to develop a running program that includes semi-weekly training, nutritional advice, health supplements and activewear for interested beneficiaries. Currently, 20 men and eight women participate in the program.

“There is the holistic impact on mind, body and spirit,” Nick Sterner, Feet on the Street owner and member of the Denver ARC’s Advisory Council, said of running. “The way the program is designed offers beneficiaries an opportunity to engage in a healthy, active lifestyle and effectively puts them in touch with a community that is making positive health choices.”
At the start, many struggle to run a quarter of a mile in Denver with its challenging mile-high elevation. Yet, Sterner said in a few weeks of training, the participants advance to running up to three miles.

“If we can latch on early, you see a lot of [the beneficiaries] translate the incremental goal setting of athletics into other areas of their lives,” Sterner said. “We’ve had a lot of guys tell us that [fitness] is why they stay in the [ARC] program.”

Exercise lowers stress levels and releases endorphins, which can alleviate depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Exercise also engages the lymphatic system, which cleanses toxins from the body. In the 2009 edition of Principles of Addiction Medicine, Dr. James O. Prochaska wrote, “Physical activity helps manage moods, stress and distress. Also, 60 minutes per week of exercise can provide a recovering person with more than 50 health and mental health benefits. Exercise thus should be prescribed to all sedentary patients with addiction.”

Lewis said the program’s fitness component helped change her mentality.

“Now, I don’t want to numb the pain out,” Lewis said. “I want to feel pain. I want to feel the pain of running. Even when I know it hurts, I want to finish what I started.”

Shortly after Lewis graduated from the ARC program, she was hired by Feet on the Street.
“This is a dream job for me,” Lewis said. “After we run, it’s amazing how everything seems better. It’s just a different coping mechanism. Running helps you process everything.”

Misty Paulson, who successfully completed the six-month program, said Feet on the Street was just the outlet she needed. Since graduating, she has reunited with her two daughters.

“When I first entered the Adult Rehabilitation Center I wanted to leave rather than put up with the discipline and structure required of us in the program, but I realized I had nowhere else to go,” she said. “When I joined the Feet on the Street program I felt I was able to channel all the anger and hatred I had inside me to the difficult task of running long distance.”

Since the program’s inception, ARC beneficiaries have participated in the Cops and Robbers 5K Road Chase and the Sand Creek 5K, notching female second-place and male third-place individual finishes in the latter.

Samantha Peel, Denver ARC program manager, noted that while physical health is key, it’s just the catalyst for bigger change.

“They make a commitment and that commitment becomes a goal,” Peel said. “That goal then becomes structure and that structure becomes hope.”

by Ron McKinney
Captain Ron Mckinney is the community relations manager for The Salvation Army Denver ARC.
Connect with Ron
denver.satruck.org
facebook.com/thesalvationarmywest
email: ron.mckinney@usw.salvationarmy.org

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Community Events

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The Salvation Army Annual Report 2014

 

 

The Salvation Army Annual Report

“He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.”

This verse from the Book of Isaiah is the foundation for The Salvation Army’s 2013 Online Annual Report’s theme, “Open Arms”, now available here. Commissioner David Jeffery, The Salvation Army’s National Commander, had this verse come to mind saying, “It’s a sweet image, a beautiful reminder of the Lord’s gentleness in caring for the vulnerable”.

The Salvation Army strives to follow the Lord’s example of caring and opening our arms and our hearts to anyone in need. And we’re proud to report that, guided by God’s love and your compassion and support, The Salvation Army served 30 million Americans in 2013!

Throughout this last year and with the help of 3.5 million volunteers, The Salvation Army:
Served nearly 60 million meals to the hungry
Provided over 10 million nights of lodging to the homeless
Sent almost 200,000 low income and disadvantaged kids to summer camp
Counseled 180,000 men and women with drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Also featured in the annual report is an inspiring video of The Salvation Army’ s Angel Tree Program which helps provide nearly 1 million disadvantaged children across the United States.
As it truly takes an army, our services would not be possible without your help and support and we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for furthering our mission to Do The Most Good!
The Salvation Army is here for you. We welcome all with open doors, open hearts, and open arms.

Learn more through our annual report about The Salvation Army’s programs and services utilized by those in need in 2013.

Visit salvationarmyannualreport.org to read the 2013 Online Annual Report.

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Surviving Abuse

Originally featured in The New Frontier Chronicle, a source of news and networking for The Salvation Army. Read more at http://www.newfrontierchronicle.org.
A first-hand account of addiction and recovery
By Sherita Mouzon

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Sherita Mouzon with her daughter

 
Growing up, we used to have to heat the house with kerosene heaters and they were old. The smell from the smoke would get into my clothes and the kids would tease me in school.

I later became a heavy cocaine user; even after I had my daughter at age 31, it was not enough to stop. I wanted to die. I knew God had put me on this earth for a reason and it couldn’t be this.

I grew up in poverty and food insecurity all my life. I witnessed domestic violence and was raped by age 9. I never had a stable home environment and grew up witnessing the multi-generational effects of poverty. I knew I wanted a better life for myself, but did not know how to get there. I was also suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and untreated trauma, so my life was filled with drug use and risky behavior. I didn’t see a future for myself.

When I didn’t have money to buy my daughter anything for Christmas in 2008, I wrote to President Barack Obama requesting a present for my daughter. The White House forwarded my letter to a Salvation Army center in Philadelphia. I received help from one of the social workers there, who gave me three $20 Walmart gift cards and two bags of food.

Shortly after that act of kindness, I joined the Witness to Hunger program at Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Public Health in 2010. Witness to Hunger is a research and advocacy project that partners with real experts on hunger—mothers and caregivers of young children who have experienced hunger and poverty. Through photographs, “witnesses” advocate for their own families and others and seek to create lasting changes on a local, state and national level.

With my involvement in the program, I was able to get self-help group training based on the sanctuary model by Dr. Sandra Bloom at Drexel University. The sanctuary model is a support group that teaches people how to talk about and heal from trauma and focuses on four main bodies of knowledge: trauma theory, social learning moral intelligence, democracy and complexity theory.

Through this process I realized why I was having self-destructive behavior. I had attachment disorder from my mother never being emotionally present to me and I had PTSD by witnessing the abuse my mom suffered at the hands of my brother’s father. I was also suffering from the shame of being raped by my babysitter’s female daughter. Only by going to a self-help group was I able to heal from the trauma I had suffered for so many years.

After this training, I began working for Drexel and then at the Kroc Center as a peer mentor and running self-help groups. The Salvation Army also wanted this program at the Temple Corps, the same place The White House had sent my letter three years before.

Currently I’m a peer-mentoring caseworker for The Salvation Army and I run self-help groups for the community as well as staff and interns. The Lord has given me a way to share my story and also mentor others. I was not able to help myself until I accepted the Lord’s help. He put me here in this program for a reason.

I’m now sober and living with my husband and daughter. I want people to know that with God’s help any and all things are possible. I was lonely, depressed and angry, and I know other people out there feel the same way and I want to help those people. That’s what this program does.

ricky

“I could never, ever imagine The Salvation Army turning away anyone…”

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This post was originally featured on The Salvation Army Western Territory’s blog, Expect Change and was contributed by Kathy Lovin of The Salvation Army Western Territory.

Ricky grew up in a family where there was love, but as a young gay man in the 80s he struggled with his identity. So he stole his parents’ credit cards to buy things he thought he needed to feel good.

When his parents reported the cards stolen, the police investigated the crime and arrested Ricky. His parents tried to drop the charges once they knew he was the guilty party but it was too late. He went to prison anyway.

While he was in prison his mom died. After he got out and began to reorder his life, his dad died. Then his boyfriend decided he couldn’t handle all the upset in Ricky’s life and the emotional baggage it created, so he left too.

Ricky’s answer to all of the despair in his life was to use the knot-tying skills he learned as a Boy Scout to hang himself. Thankfully, the knot broke and a well-timed “welfare check” by his parole officer moments later kept him from trying again.

His parole officer found drugs in the house, so he was off to prison again.

Find out the rest of Ricky’s amazing story about the healing power of Christ’s love and the outstretched hand of The Salvation Army. Click the white arrow to watch Ricky’s testimony video:

As you give this Christmas, you can be assured that The Salvation Army offers its love and service to anyone in need as long as we have the capacity to help.
Now Ricky is on the giving end of God’s love: he is the Assistant Resident Manager at our Adult Rehabilitation Center in Denver, Colorado.

He’s helping men who’ve struggled to get clean of drugs – and the criminal activity that often comes with it – to heal their bodies and minds, learn good work habits, and prepare themselves for what God has planned for the rest of their lives.

Remember that everything you give to or buy from a Salvation Army Family Store helps us care for people who need comprehensive, no-fee, residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Click on satruck.com for a Family Store location, Adult Rehabilitation Center or donation drop-off site.
Thank you!

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Inmates the ‘backbone’ of Salvation Army holiday program

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An inmate from the Bristol County House of Correction on the Sheriff’s Inmate Work Crew program sorts toys at the Salvation Army in New Bedford on Monday to help with the increase in work due to the holiday season.

John Sladewski/The Standard-Times

NEW BEDFORD — So, how helpful are the guys in red suits around The Salvation Army?

“What they do, you can’t even measure it,” Maj. Gilbert Parkhurst said.

“We wouldn’t be able to do any of (the Christmas help) without them,” Maj. BethEllen Parkhurst said.

“They’re unbelievable. Just incredible. They do anything we ask them to do,” volunteer Sandy Medeiros said.

They’re not talking about special volunteers or guys dressed in Santa Costumes, but a group of six inmates from the Bristol County House of Correction.

These prisoners are shuttled from the Dartmouth jail to The Salvation Army building on Purchase Street every morning during the holiday season. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., they do everything from emptying the trash bags to stocking pantry shelves to carrying large boxes of clothes, food and toys. Monday afternoon, they unloaded a massive truck full of toys — the first delivery of the year to The Salvation Army, paid for with funds raised from the Neediest Families Fund.

The inmates provide manpower, often necessary to unload trucks full of heavy donation boxes — and they do it with a smile.

“They’re really the backbone of the whole operation behind the scenes,” said Costa, who has been with The Salvation Army in the city for more than 30 years. “I can’t say enough about those gentlemen. The community should know that these guys have good hearts and they’re doing it with a smile on their faces.”

The inmates are part of the Sheriff’s Office’s Inmate Work Program, which takes those behind bars out into the community doing a range of community service, from removing graffiti to refurbishing public buildings and preparing baseball fields for upcoming seasons.

They are under the direction of Lt. Bob Johnson, a city native and 23-year veteran of the sheriff’s office who has been supervising inmates’ work at The Salvation Army for almost 10 years.

“I’ve never had a single incident,” Lt. Johnson said. “We’ve unloaded thousands of pounds of food. You can’t beat the 12 hands I bring along.”

The inmate crews doing work at The Salvation Army and other places are all serving sentences of 10 months or less. Lt. Johnson said there are no sexual or violent offenders. All have been tried and convicted, none is awaiting trial, and all are in for non-violent crimes.

Acushnet resident Samuel DesRoches is one those inmates working at The Salvation Army. DesRoches, who is in for burning a motor vehicle, said that seeing the struggling people who come in for Christmas help or food donations helped him appreciate what he has.

“We get to help a lot of people, and these people are really struggling,” DesRoches said. “It definitely helped me appreciate my life a lot more and appreciate the smaller things, and to be a better person when I get out.”

“It’s a nice opportunity to see that this box of food I packed is going to help a family in need,” said inmate Paul Lindstrom, a Providence native who is in for operating under the influence. “The people here do such a great job. It just makes you want to work even harder seeing what they do here.”

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said it’s not necessarily about the work they do while they’re in jail, but the impact it has when they get out.

“It gives them the confidence that when they get out of jail, they can make the community a better place,” he said. “This gives them a chance to help others and know they’re making a difference. We’ve had inmates get jobs at places they’ve done service at.”

At the end of the holiday season, the inmates are treated to a special appreciation lunch in the break room at The Salvation Army.

“We get to sit down with them and tell them how much we appreciate what they’ve done for us,” Maj. Gilbert Parkhurst said. “Even while they’re working, I get a chance to talk to them, talk about their lives, what they’ve done and what they want to accomplish when they get out. We’ve even had some come back and help us out after they get released.”

By Jonathan Darling

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Selena Gomez Talks Online Red Kettle With Ryan Seacrest

24 hours after announcing her support of The Salvation Army’s 123rd Red Kettle Campaign with a performance at our Kick-Off show Thanksgiving Day, Selena Gomez went On-Air with Ryan Seacrest to promote her Online Red Kettle.

Click here to listen! 

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November 3: Selena Gomez with Salvation Army National Advisory Board Chairperson, Charlotte Jones Anderson (left) and Major Ron Busroe, National Community Relations and Development Secretary for The Salvation Army.

You can join Selena Gomez’s Red Kettle Team by visiting http://www.onlineredkettle.org/selenagomez. In doing so, you could win the chance to virtually connect with Selena on a Google Hangout later in the season.

The Salvation Army Red Kettles have been an American tradition since 1891, helping raise financial support for critical Salvation Army programs and services year round.  This campaign allows you to host your own Red Kettle – online.

Over the years, the Red Kettle Campaign has grown into one of the most recognizable and important charitable campaigns in the United States – providing toys for kids, coats for the homeless, food for the hungry and countless social service programs year-round. You become a vital part of our Christmas efforts when you help those in need by hosting an Online Red Kettle and filling it with donations from family, friends and colleagues.
Click here to get started today.

Christmas Film, “Silver Bells” Highlights the Good Work of Salvation Army

Ready or not, Christmas is already in the air. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by a mound of Halloween candy and November will be on its way out.

But there’s plenty of time to get in the spirit and soak it all up!  Whip up some hot chocolate, snuggle up with the family and turn on Silver Bells, a Pure Flix Entertainment production that tells the touching story about a man and his journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

Bruce Boxleitner plays an ambitious businessman who gets in a scuffle that gets him sentenced to community service — manning a red kettle and ringing bells for The Salvation Army for the rest of the Christmas season.

At first he finds this humiliating, and in his self-pity determines to be the world’s worst bell ringer, but as he encounters the people behind the kettle, his life — and especially his relationship with his son — is changed by something as simple as ringing a bell.
We’re delighted The Salvation Army plays a pivotal role throughout the film as the family volunteers with the organization in various ways. With a great cast including Bruce Boxleitner, Kevin Downes , and Antonio Fargas , Silver Bells is a heartwarming reminder to reflect on the true message of Christmas and to celebrate love, faith and hope.

Catch the nationwide broadcast on UPTV on Saturday, November 30. Or, check it out on DVD and Blu-Ray today.
Is it too early to say “Merry Christmas”?
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Visit https://www.facebook.com/PureFlix to learn more. You can also join in the conversation with #SilverBells on Twitter and Facebook

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National Recovery Month: Trevor’s Story

This post was contributed by The Salvation Army Midland Division.

In honor of National Recovery Month, we invited Major Kendall Mathews (known to St. Louis as Major KK) of our Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) to share a story of one person who has come through the ARC program. The name has been changed to protect the subject’s identity. You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it.-Psalms 65:9

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Trevor grew up in Kansas City, Mo., in an upper-middle- class area.

His mother was married to a dentist, he lived in a good neighborhood and had several friends. But as the years went by his mother and stepfather decided to get a divorce, and in a split second, he went from upper-class circumstances to living in public housing with his grandmother. He had a tough time adjusting to his new environment. He was constantly reminded by the children in the neighborhood that he was different. Trevor wanted a better life for himself and decided to join the U.S. Navy. It was hard for him to leave his family, but a change was needed in his life. Trevor excelled in the Navy; he was doing things naturally that people were trained for weeks to do. He worked his way from a Sailor to Aviation Chief, served in the Navy for 20 years, and retired. Even though he was living his dreams, he was still presented with several obstacles in his life. The Navy caused him to be away from his wife and children for months at a time. He started to feel lonely and ended up giving into his temptations. He had no idea that his wife was feeling the same way and their marriage ended up suffering from their choices to be unfaithful. And even though he was qualified, he still struggled with being the only African-American in a leadership position in the Navy and with accepting recognition for his hard work.

Trevor always drank socially and used marijuana on occasion, and it never seemed to cause him any problems. He started using crack cocaine in his late 30’s and used it on and off for 25 years. He had a method to his madness: he used alcohol because it allowed him to be more social, marijuana because it enhanced his concentration, and crack because it allowed him to be more sexual. He attempted to live a sober lifestyle a few times during his addiction. He relapsed after being clean for four years. He still thought that he had control over his addiction until the Navy gave him an ultimatum. In order for him to receive his retirement benefits, he would have to check himself into a rehabilitation program. Another one of Trevor’s problems was being a people-pleaser, and in all of his pleasing he neglected himself, destroyed his marriages and the relationships with his children, and almost lost his retirement. His addiction controlled his life for more than 25 years.

Today, the most important thing is his life is the relationship he has with God. He has been sober since 1995 and has since stopped leaning on his own understanding and realized that the Lord is his provider. Trevor has committed his life to God and to living a Christian lifestyle. He is a Soldier of The Salvation Army and a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

The origin of the word “provide” is in the Latin providere, meaning “look forward, prepare, supply, act with foresight.” To be a provider, one has to be able to look ahead and anticipate the needs of those for whom one is providing. Part of being a good provider is having the wisdom to discern the best way in which to accommodate those needs.

The ministry of The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center is to Recycle goods, Reclaim lives, and Rebuild families through our work therapy program and a spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. The ability to dream of a better life, a better community and a better world is common to us all. Men who suffer from substance abuse need this better life in order to give back to our society in a sober and spiritual way. It is a long road to their recovery and as is true in this story, all things are possible through Christ and caring community. Our ARC becomes their safety net where we catch the drug-addicted man, then support in living a transformed life, free from the bondage of sin and shame.

Our program is designed to minister to the whole person, rather than just a specific problem. The majority of men who come to our center for assistance are having problems in many areas of their lives: social, medical, spiritual, personal, and employment. We make every effort to cover these tenants to bring about a total recovery with a positive, after-care support plan tailored for each individual. The goal is re-entry back into the community in a positive manner with sufficient support for maintenance of sobriety and growth in lifestyle. “For we are God’s Workmanship, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Posted by Jackie on Friday, October 4, 2013 ·

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Former homeless teen recieves free car for being a “Spark of Hope”

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Brittnie Pemberton was just nine years old when she and her mother were homeless and living at The Salvation Army’s Door of Hope. Her father, sought help for substance abuse through The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Program (ARC). Throughout this trying time, this young lady never lost hope that her dreams would come true.
And on Tuesday afternoon, one did.

While living at the shelter, Brittnie participated in a project called “Pictures of Hope,” where she was asked to take pictures of her hopes and dreams, one of which included a snap shot of San Diego State University. That dream became a reality a few years ago when a donor endowed a four year scholarship for Brittnie. Also included in this list was a wish to one day get a car.
Brittnie, now 16, was shocked when Chevrolet surprised the teen by unveiling a brand new car.

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark was given to Brittnie for being a “Spark of Hope” for America’s youth. She is an incredible example of hard work and great compassion as she splits her time between school and volunteering at the homeless shelter where she mentors children who are currently going through the same thing she did. Her proud parents are back on their feet and are serving as cadets in The Salvation Army.

At the presentation this week, she was led to believe she was there to be interviewed about her family’s past and their experience living in The Salvation Army’s homeless shelter. She had no idea what was in store for her.

see more here

Posted by Jackie on Friday, September 27, 2013 ·