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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

inmates salvation army holiday program

Inmates the ‘backbone’ of Salvation Army holiday program

inmates salvation army holiday program

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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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 ·

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Salvation Army Statement on Building Collapse in Philadelphia

building collapse in Philadelphia salvation army thrift store

“At this time, we are gathering information about the details of the building collapse at 22nd and Market Street in Philadelphia today.

Our number one concern is for the safety of our customers and the employees who were involved. We are coordinating with the Police and Fire Department and local authorities. Also, we have sent our own disaster response team to the site to serve survivors and first responders. We ask for the public to pray for those involved.”