Meet the Staff: Jussane Goodman

When it comes to meeting people’s needs, Jussane’s been there and done that. She has her bachelor’s degree in non-profit leadership and management, she’s served the homeless at the Dream Center in LA, worked as a case manager at a local women’s shelter, and served foster care youth at the Phoenix Dream Center.

You would think all that experience comes from a lifelong dream to change the world. But in Jussane’s case, it started with a calling.

“I read a book by Matthew Barnett and felt God was calling me to the LA Dream Center. While I was there, I visited Skid Row. I had never heard of it before. God used it to work on my heart. I came back thinking, ‘What am I going to do about this?’

Before long, Jussane found herself returning to Skid Row again and again, eventually bringing men and women from her church to help her minister to the homeless. From there she began volunteering locally, learning more and more about the complexity of homelessness.

Jussane, left, with the PRM Community Engagement Team

That’s when a friend introduced her to Phoenix Rescue Mission.

“I had an interview with Nathan (our Chief Program Officer). I remember having a short and honest prayer with God and saying, ‘God, if this is for me, I’m going to walk right through that door and if it’s not for me, you better shut it,’ because I was so excited about working here.”

The next day, Phoenix Rescue Mission added a valuable new member to our outreach team! That was in 2017. Through hard work and dedication, she was promoted to Street Outreach Supervisor in 2019 and this September to Director of Community Engagement, overseeing our Criminal Justice Diversion Program, Glendale Works, Hope for Hunger Food Bank, our Mobile Pantries, Community Market, our growing Hope Coach Street Outreach team, and more!

“Anyone who is not in our residential campus is our client. My goal is to make sure we’re doing what we do with excellence so that when we take on new opportunities, we’re well equipped. We’re the hands and feet of Christ. When people call us, they know they’re getting the best service. Our clients need to feel supported, loved, and that their needs are being met. That’s my priority.”

Hope is Expanding – Ahead of Schedule!

Every day that goes by gets us a little closer to seeing this dream become a reality. Construction at the Transforming Lives Center on our new Life Recovery Building is moving now at a dizzying pace. The fourth floor has been added, the waterproofing and siding is going up, and we’re currently on the cusp of starting work on the interior.

In fact, things have been moving along so well that we’re actually ahead of schedule. The original estimate put the end of construction in early 2021, but as of today, it’s looking more like the end of this year!

Once construction is complete, we’ll still need to add fixtures, furniture and the like before opening the doors in early 2021. But every day we gain means that there will be much more opportunity to transform lives – and do it on a scale that’s never been possible before.

All we can say is – God is good!

Thank you for all the prayers blessing this work and speeding it along. We’re all so excited to see God use this new space to transform more lives than ever before, and Phoenix itself in the process!

You can see all the details about our progress of the Expanding Hope Capital Campaign at hopeforphx.org!

Love Conquers Violence: Shawn’s Story

Shawn was the priest of a warlike religion, Asatru, for 15 years, committing acts of violence in the name of the Norse gods.

But what happens when a priest of Odin and Thor has an encounter with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

In a word? Transformation.

Ever since he was little, Shawn’s life has been ruled by violence.

“My stepfather used to beat me up a lot,” says Shawn. “Then I found out he was hurting my sister. At fourteen, I attacked him.”

It was an act that got Shawn sent to juvenile prison. But instead of rehabilitation, the years he spent there only confirmed violence was the answer to life’s problems. That belief sent Shawn back to prison time and time again. As an adult, he found a religion to justify his worldview — one that not only accepted violence, but actively encouraged it.

“Prisons are run by gangs. I cliqued up with the Aryan Brotherhood, the Skinheads, basically the white supremacists, most of whom are Asatru. I became a priest of a religion that shouldn’t even be called a religion, really. It’s more of a license to hurt people. It teaches that everyone else is the enemy, the only people who matter are your own and to take what you want through violence. It’s horribly self-serving.”

That all came to an end when an encounter with God brought this priest to his knees.

“I have a daughter and when I got out of prison the last time, in 2017, I found out she was pregnant. Being a grandfather made me want to change but, instead, I went back to drugs. That sent me to Valley Hospital where they gave me a list of the halfway houses and recovery programs in Phoenix.”

Scanning the list, one in particular caught his eye.

“It was Phoenix Rescue Mission. My mother is Christian. When I read that they offered a year-long, Christian-based recovery program, I thought that would be the best way to reconnect with my family.”

He never imagined what would happen next.

“I was here maybe two weeks. We were in the chapel and they were playing Christian videos. The song Oceans came on and I flashed back to the last time I had heard it. It was in the car with my mom."

"Suddenly I had this epiphany of how my mom has always prayed for me and what it means to be Christian, and I started bawling. I hadn’t cried in twenty years!”

But God wasn’t done.

"All of a sudden, everything made sense. I hit my knees. Through the tears I saw a picture of Jesus up on the wall. In my head I told Him, 'Okay God, you got me.'

Then this was crazy. Right after that, a voice in my head responded with, 'I've always had you.'" He laughs.

In an instant, God was able to reach into Shawn’s life and shatter the worldview that had held him captive for decades.

“From that moment on, I got baptized and I started taking recovery seriously. Ever since then, my resolve has become stronger and stronger. All I’ve done most of my adult life is hurt people. I want to spend the rest of the time God gives me helping people.

Your support not only made that transformational moment possible, it’s giving Shawn the tools he needs to follow his new direction.
“I applied for the Ministry Training course because I want to follow a career path that helps people. To that end, Phoenix Rescue Mission also helped me earn my Microsoft certification and enrolled me in the peer support specialist course which I graduated from as well. I’m 46 years old. I never thought I would start out on a new career path, but God has made that possible for me.”

No longer a man of violence, Shawn’s worldview had been turned upside down. Today he’s focused on rebuilding his life, the lives of others, and his relationship with his family.

“My mom and dad live up in Prescott. So do my brother and his kids, and I go up to visit them whenever I can get passes. Every time I talk to my mom she yells, ‘Praise Jesus!’ She’s just so happy. Unfortunately, I influenced my daughter to be pagan and she hasn’t come to Christ yet. But I’m working on that.” He laughs.

“Who knew that there was this oasis of God’s love sitting right next to a jail in Phoenix? It saved my life!”

Phoenix Rescue Mission Launches “Fed Up! Hungry for Change” Holiday Campaign

Three-month effort to help families in poverty and those affected by COVID-19

 PHOENIX (Sept. 29, 2020) – Arizona has the 3rd highest poverty rate among the nation’s 25 largest metro areas, with one in five children suffering from hunger, according to statistics measured prior to the pandemic. In response, Phoenix Rescue Mission is launching its “Fed Up! Hungry for Change” holiday campaign, Thursday, Oct. 1.

The campaign, which runs through Dec. 31, kicks off with a Mobile Food Pantry event on October 1 in Phoenix. The Mobile Food Pantry is open to the public and designed to improve food accessibility across the Valley, especially in impoverished areas where families may not have transportation to travel to get the help they need. Those who stop by the event, located at 4013 W. Maricopa Street, will be provided food assistance and have the opportunity to connect with services designed to lift them out of poverty.

Phoenix Rescue Mission created the Fed Up! campaign as a response to the way in which society has dealt with hunger for too long – primarily by treating the symptoms of hunger without addressing the root causes, which stem from a lack of vocational development, education, counseling, mental health services and other resources.

“This is Phoenix Rescue Mission’s shout to the community that we are not satisfied with the status quo and we’re shedding a light on the root causes of hunger,” Phoenix Rescue Mission CEO Ken Brissa said.

Public support for this effort is needed now more than ever, due to the recent pandemic and its effects on the economy. While the hunger crisis in Phoenix has existed long before COVID-19, the problem has since become more prevalent because of the thousands of families that have lost jobs, been furloughed, or have otherwise seen their income dry up with no warning over the past few months.

The Fed Up! campaign makes it easy for the public to help stop hunger by providing a means in which anyone can help, either through a small donation online or by bringing food and other needed items directly to Phoenix Rescue Mission. The campaign will feature several events, including its Frozen Turkey Saturday on Nov. 14 and Food Box Delivery Day on Nov.  21, aimed not only at feeding those suffering from hunger during the holiday season, but also connecting them with resources to end their cycle of poverty.

“The holidays can be difficult for struggling families, especially as others across the Valley prepare their celebratory feasts and purchase gifts,” Brissa said.

“Imagine being a parent and having to tell your child that there won’t be any gifts this year – now imagine there won’t be any food either. We can do something to prevent that.”

The public is encouraged to get involved with the Fed Up! campaign this holiday season, either by volunteering time, donating food and other items, or make a monetary donation. Donations made to the Fed Up! campaign will support the thousands of families served each month by Phoenix Rescue Mission’s various programs, including its Hope for Hunger Food Bank, Mobile Food Pantries, Hope Coach Street Outreach services, and many others designed to lift families out of hard times and end their cycle of poverty.

“We need the Valley to come together in support of our hurting neighbors this holiday season, while helping us advance long-term solutions for ending hunger once and for all in our communities,” Brissa said.

“This starts with equipping our community members with access to addiction recovery services, vocational development, job opportunities, counseling, case management, and many other programs.”


This year’s public events include:

Thursday, Oct. 1: Mobile Pantry

Created to decrease food insecurity and improve food accessibility across the Valley, Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Mobile Pantry initiative will visit the Murphy neighborhood, southwest of downtown, to connect with disadvantaged families, provide them with nutritious meals, and help them access the resources to end their cycle of poverty. The public is encouraged to stop by the event at Ministerio Un Ejercito Para Cristo (4013 W. Maricopa Street, Phoenix, AZ 85009) from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., or as long as supplies last. Phoenix Rescue Mission will be following CDC guidelines and asks visitors to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Every 3rd Tuesday: Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15: Free Community Markets

This brand-new venture came about in response to the growing need of those who are not only struggling to make ends meet, but also located in regions where support is limited; and they do not have the means to travel for help. Each Free Community Market will provide food and necessities that are donated from sources, including St. Mary’s Food Bank and the community as a whole. Food bags and hygiene items will be given to families while supplies last. The public is encouraged to stop by from 9-11 a.m. at First New Life Church (1902 W. Roeser Road, Phoenix 85041). There is no cost to participate. ID is required.

For questions, please contact Rachel Stacke at (602)-346-3383 or rstacke@phxmission.org

Saturday, Nov. 14: Frozen Turkey Saturday

Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Frozen Turkey Saturday aims to collect more than 2,000 turkeys, which will be delivered directly to families in need during the Mission’s Thanksgiving Meal Distribution Day and at their Hope for Hunger Food Bank. The public is encouraged to stop by the drive-thru event at the Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank (5605 N. 55th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85301) and bring a frozen turkey, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Please contact Catie Hammann at (602) 346-3347 or gikhelp@phxmission.org if you would like to start a non-perishable foods or turkey drive.

Saturday, Nov. 21: Public Thanksgiving Meal Distribution Day

Because Phoenix Rescue Mission cannot delivery Thanksgiving meals directly as in the past, the Mission will fulfill its goal of serving 400 families this year by working with volunteers to operate a drive-thru event at Sullivan Elementary School (2 N 31st Ave., Phoenix 85009) to distribute turkeys and sides, food bags, and hygiene kits. There is no registration required and first come are first served from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or as long as supplies last. To volunteer at this event, please sign up at prm.volunteerhub.com.

Saturday, Dec. 12: Winter Wonderland Community Event (guests by pre-registration only)

The Mission is partnering with local businesses, churches, and individuals to collect new, unwrapped toys, small household items, and personal gifts. The Mission will then provide the gifts to families in need via its annual Winter Wonderland event. This year, Phoenix Rescue Mission hopes to serve as many as 400 children during the event, which will also be conducted in drive-thru fashion. Families will be pre-registered through local schools our Community Market outreach events. Families will also receive food assistance and toiletries to supply them through the Christmas season. To volunteer at this event, please sign up at prm.volunteerhub.com.

Please contact Catie Hammann at (602) 346-3347 or gikhelp@phxmission.org if you would like to hold a gift or food drive.

 

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Phoenix Rescue Mission

Phoenix Rescue Mission is a leading provider of Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger, homelessness, addiction, and trauma. The nonprofit Mission, which has been operating since 1952, is asking the public for support of its many programs designed to transform lives, including Hope for Hunger Food Bank, Hope Coach Street Outreach, Temporary Shelter Programs, Men’s Addiction Recovery Program, and the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children.

Media Contacts:

Ryan Brown, Phoenix Rescue Mission, cell: (302) 359-6780, rbrown@phxmission.org

Josh Skalniak, Lambert & Co., cell: (480) 352-2050, jskalniak@lambert.com

 

 

 

Instead of Justice, Grace | Spencer’s Story

Spencer's Story | Instead of Justice, Grace

Spencer messed up.

When he graduated from high school, his brother introduced him to methamphetamines. Later, his girlfriend introduced him to heroin. For the next 12 years, his life revolved around drugs and what he had to do to keep them coming.

“I got to the point where I didn’t care anymore. I slept outside. My only motivation was to go get high. That’s when things started getting really bad. I kept getting picked up and arrested over and over.”

Straight out of the gate, Spencer was saddled with an addiction that ruled his life and a lifestyle that ran counter to the law. By the time he was 30 years old, Spencer was living next to a dumpster and looking forward to 10 to 15 years in prison. His life was over before it had begun.

Or at least it was, until your love gave him a second chance.

Spencer was one of the first to find true freedom through Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Criminal Justice Diversion – a program dedicated to helping repeat offenders find a path to recovery and self-sufficiency.

In search for a place to lay their heads, homeless men and women often rack up a laundry list of charges, including trespassing, loitering, panhandling, and sleeping in public places, just to name a few. It’s an endless cycle, so much so that most cities in the valley have programs solely dedicated to the issue. One of them is Phoenix’s Misdemeanor Repeat Offender Program, or MROP. (Pronounced M-Rope)

Phoenix Rescue Mission has long worked with MROP detectives to join in the outreach and offer help to those caught out on the streets. But detectives soon found they couldn’t keep up with the rising numbers.

Those detectives needed help,” says Jussane Goodman, our Acting Director of Community Engagement. “They were doing the work of case managers, even though they weren’t trained in it and didn’t have the time to do so. We were asked to step in to assist, and Phoenix Rescue Mission saw it as an opportunity to serve people, our community, and the police department at the same time. We set up a pilot program in September 2018.”

It’s called Criminal Justice Diversion, designed to break the cycle of endless litigation by offering a path to recovery and self-sufficiency to repeat offenders, in lieu of jail time.

“We’re providing case management in the courtroom. We talk to clients, after they speak to the judge, to connect them with mental health clinics for medication, with resources for housing, employment, or shelter once they’re released, if they have nowhere to go. If someone is in court for a substance abuse issue, we can recommend recovery, either at Phoenix Rescue Mission or somewhere else as part of their plea agreement. We just want them to get the help they need.

For Spencer, that help came just in time.

“I met Jussane the first time I had a court date in Peoria.” Spencer remembers. “She was always there waiting to talk to me. The last time, she somehow got my mom’s number. When I went to court that day, there were Jussane and my mom waiting for me. Jussane went in front of the judge for me. Instead of sentencing me to 10 to 15 years, he sent me to Phoenix Rescue Mission for recovery instead!

Spencer entered our recovery program on December 18th of last year. It’s a day he remembers well, not only because it was his birthday, but it was also the day when everything started to change.

“I didn’t know God before I came to Phoenix Rescue Mission. I used to think a blessing was waking up to find a bit of dope left over. But here, He’s shown me what real blessings are, like having money and not having to steal stuff to pay for things, reconnecting with my two kids, or finding there’s more to life than getting high.”

Spencer serves dinner at the men's campus

Through your faithful support and the grace of God, Spencer has graduated from our recovery program. Free from addiction, he’s starting life over again. He’s found a steady job at the Home Depot Warehouse and is saving his money for a new place and a car.

Spencer was one of the first to find true freedom through Criminal Justice Diversion, but he won’t be the last. Since becoming a full program in July of 2019, Phoenix Rescue Mission has engaged with 104 repeat offenders like Spencer and have placed 7 in a path to recovery.

"Our presence in court has been very positive," says Jussane with a smile. "It’s caused a shift in thinking. More and more are starting to see how hard time in prison doesn’t rehabilitate in these cases. It’s substance abuse programs, coupled with counseling, that make rehabilitation possible."

"Seeing success stories like Spencer’s remind us that ‘This is why we do what we do.’ There’s no such thing as a lost cause. People can really turn around if they’re given the right opportunity."