Debi used to sit on a bench in Tustin, day after day, unable to see a way out of the hopelessness and homelessness she found herself in.  She fell into a serious depression and became so ill that she couldn’t walk.  When she finally entered the Village of Hope program in August 2017, an Outreach worker literally carried her from her tent at the Tustin library.

Last Friday, nearly 18 months later, Debi walked confidently across the stage to collect her Road to Success job workshop certificate of completion, as one of the most recent group of workshop participants.  Healed and whole, she shared eagerly about what she had learned at the workshop and the new skills she would take with her into the future as she begins searching for employment.

Debi is just one of many incredible stories of life transformation that we were able to witness today.  One by one, each man and woman stood up and shared a little piece of their journey:

“I expected to be broken, and for that, I am so grateful.  I cried my eyes out and then than the next day I knew I couldn’t go anywhere but up. And I did do that.”

“The Mission has helped me get there: to feel that I am important and that I do deserve a chance at life and I will have one.”

“I had to put everything I learned aside because with my mindset I created a lot of my own problems and you can’t fix a problem with the same mind that created it, so I had to relearn everything.”

“I want to thank the OCRM for giving me this life changing opportunity. I’ve been to several programs in the past, it’s not for lack of trying but because of not having a relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the number one thing that I got out of this.”

It is enormously encouraging and inspiring to watch formerly homeless men and women eagerly face their futures, confident and hopeful for what’s to come.  But I think Debi summed it up best as to why we do what we do.  She finished her comments by telling a story about a time she went back out to the streets of Tustin with our Outreach team.  She met a homeless woman who asked her, “Are you Debi?”  When Debi told her she was, the woman responded in awe, saying, “You’re the one who made it.”

And that is why we do what we do – so that each person that walks through our doors has a chance to be “the one who makes it”.  Thank you for all that you do to help us achieve this, as we work together to end homelessness, one life at a time.

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