Where are they now? Tiffany 5 years later…

When Tiffany Sorenson graced the cover of our newsletter back in January of 2014, we told her story of repeated success and failure. Despite reinventing herself again and again, she could never get past the unhealed emotional wounds from her past or the alcoholism that always accompanied it.

Over the years, her addiction had cost her peace, a college degree, employment and eventually, her hope for the future.

“At one point I needed two 99-proof shots in the morning just to even out,” she admitted. “Peace was missing inside me and I stopped trying to figure out how to get it back.”

That is, until she connected with the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center. With the support of our counselors and staff, Tiffany was able to confront and overcome the root of her addiction for the first time in her life! But that was five years ago. Where is Tiffany now?

The simple answer is: busy!

Even before leaving the Phoenix Rescue Mission, Tiffany was busy giving back. In her final months, she worked for Safe Haven, a shelter for mentally ill homeless adults, and went back to school to finish the double major of psychology in criminal justice her addiction had forced her to give up on.

She graduated soon after, with honors and a 3.8 GPA, in 2015. Bachelor’s degree in hand, she earned a position as a case manager at Terros Health where, eight short months later, she was promoted to team leader as a clinical coordinator, leading one of the best performing teams in her clinic. While she worked at Terros Health, she also interned at Catholic Charities as a domestic violence counselor, and later at Chicanos Por La Causa Corozon as a substance abuse counselor.

At the same time, Tiffany started down the path of earning her Master’s degree in Social Work from ASU, adding an additional 20 hours of classes and study time to her already busy schedule, and graduated in 2017. Whew!

Today she serves as a therapist for Terros Health and is still hard at work improving herself and her ability to help others around her. She and her fiancé bought their first home 18 months ago and have set a date to get married in May!

But through all her success, Tiffany hasn’t forgotten where her life turned a corner or the friends she made while she was here. She keeps connected with other alumni through Facebook and the occasional lunch to catch up.

Tiffany’s is more than a life changed. Throughout her career, she will go on to touch and change more lives than we could ever have imagined. God’s mercy, your support and Tiffany’s hard work made that happen. We’re so proud of Tiffany! And we’re thankful for your support that gave her the chance to shine.

Glendale WORKS: A program with an eye for transformation

It’s 4:30 a.m. Long before most of us roll out of bed, Gabe is loading the last of the sack lunches on Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Glendale Works trailer. His mission is clear – to hire 11 homeless men and women for five hours of work cleaning up the streets of Glendale.

But his goal isn’t as obvious as you would think.

When Gabe hits the road, it’s not just to provide someone with a day of honest work, or a meal, or even to beautify the streets of Glendale. He’s out there for something far more important. To inspire, to motivate and, ultimately, to transform lives.

“I used to serve on the [Phoenix Rescue Mission’s] Hope Coach, but I like this better. I get to spend extended time with people, it’s not so random. While there’s something to be said for random opportunities, the people who are showing up to work seem to have motivation to change. It’s easier to direct them toward better things.”

Gabe already has fans. Sylvia, who started signing up for the program shortly after it began last November, sees him as a role model.

“He’s cool,” says Sylvia. “He started from nothing too. If he can do it, and be this happy, so can we. It’s inspiring. He makes it look possible.”

Those who sign up receive $55 for a fivehour shift, a breakfast and a sack lunch, as well as the opportunity to connect with resources designed to end homelessness. It’s a popular program. The waitlist for Glendale Works currently sits at a week and a half, but it’s changing lives every day.

Virginia, who has completed more than 30 shifts over the past few months, now has enough saved to make the trip back home to New Jersey and start over. Donovan, who is working alongside Sylvia, Virginia and eight others this morning, will eat well tonight because of the wage he earns here.

“It really was a blessing because I needed the money,” says Donovan. “I wasn’t able to eat for a while… it was a struggle. If there wasn’t anything around like this, I don’t know what I’d do.”

As summer comes and the temperatures begin to rise, Glendale Works also represents another way to help the homeless out of the deadly heat as a part of our Code:Red initiative.

Thank you for the prayers and support that make programs like this possible! We’ve had such success that we’re looking to roll out Works programs to other cities in the Phoenix Metro area soon – stay tuned for details!

For more information about Glendale Works, visit here, or contact Gabe at gpriddy@phoenixrescuemission.org.

Are you a healthy giver?

Are you a healthy giver?

How you can make a REAL difference this Christmas

During the giving season, more than any other time of the year, we all want to help our fellow brothers and sisters. But are you a healthy giver?

That’s a question we all need to ask before we hand our next $5 bill to someone on the street.

Jerome Parker, of the Healthy Giving Council (of which Phoenix Rescue Mission is a part) is doing his best to get the word out ahead of the crowds this holiday season. “We urge people to not give money or food on the street,” says Jerome. “It’s much more helpful to direct them to an  organization that already provides meals, clothing, and recovery programs set up to close the gap between those who are homeless and permanent housing.”

It may seem counter-intuitive, but feeding someone on the streets does more harm than good. It often leads to discarded trash in our neighborhoods (53 tons of it was collected off the streets between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year) and enables the homeless to avoid help for one more day. It even changes the way we think about the people we are hoping to help. “Street giving and feeding puts us in a frame of mind,” he says, “where we begin to see the homeless as less human. If we’re honest, we know that burger or dollar bill we hand out isn’t going to change  anything.

We do it to make ourselves feel better. We need to ask: Is what we are doing bringing this person closer to, or further away from, ending their homelessness?”

Here are a few easy ways to be a healthy giver!

  1. Hand out the enclosed Rescue Referral cards instead of food or cash when you see someone in need. Including a $4 bus pass is even better (bus passes can be purchased at most gas stations and grocery stores).
  2.  Help provide food, clothing, spiritual guidance, addiction recovery, counseling, education assistance, job training, and so much more by supporting the efforts of the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
  3. Become a volunteer by visiting prm.volunteerhub.com and give your time and energy by serving with us on the front lines.

 

Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of the men and women we see on our streets this holiday season!

Download your own rescue referral cards to print at home by clicking the image below.

Having to Choosing Between Paying the Bills and Food on the Table

 

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, your aunt’s famous casserole, the list of options with which to pile on your plate goes on and on at most homes during Thanksgiving. But not so for Sara’s family. Hers was one of hundreds in Phoenix who find Thanksgiving a luxury they can ill afford. When life is hard and you’re forced to choose between keeping the lights on or putting food on the table, the holiday season has a way of making it even harder.

But today, everything has changed for Sara. Her family of five is eating well and even looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast this year. So what made the difference? Hope!

Specifically, Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank.

“A friend told me about it [Hope for Hunger Food Bank],” says Sara. “She saw that we sometimes struggled with the decision to either pay the bills or to buy food. Now once a month we come and receive the food our family needs.” Nearly 30 percent of our Arizona neighbors are considered working poor. These are hard-working men and women who struggle to stretch dollars that barely cover housing expenses. Many times, for families like Sara’s, those dollars don’t quite stretch far enough to put food on the table. Arizona ranks as the 5th worst state when it comes to food security.

But through your support of the Phoenix Rescue Mission – you are making a difference.

“I’m so grateful and thankful to God and to the Mission. What they do is amazing.

They are helping a lot of families like ours. Here, we get good stuff, vegetables, fruit, rice, beans – all the stuff you really need.

 

It’s like when you go to the supermarket, you need eggs, you need cheese, you need vegetables. The way they work things here is amazing.” For many families living paycheck to paycheck, all it takes is one emergency situation – a car breaking down, an unexpected medical bill – to put a family over the edge and onto the street.

The goal of Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank is not only to provide nourishing food to individuals and families who struggle to afford it, but also to temporarily remove the burden of a food bill from the household budget. This allows families to begin to save, to provide themselves with a safety net when the next unexpected bill comes around the corner and, perhaps most importantly, a path out of the cycle of poverty.

Sara, who has been coming to Hope for Hunger for two years is not only close to that goal, she’s begun to give back and provide for others.

 

 

More Than A Teacher

For 10 years, Pat Walker has helped homeless and hurting women from all sorts of backgrounds get back on their feet and into fulfilling careers as a part of the Atlanta Rescue Mission. Today she’s bringing her wealth of  experience to the men and women we serve in our vocational development program. “I teach people how to stay focused and to have faith to push through the challenges ahead of them.

 

When they have excuses, I don’t let them get away with it,” says Pat with a smile and a chuckle. “I continue to push them, stand firm with them, but also love on them as well.” Her goal is to see every man and woman who come to work at our three social enterprises, Mission Possible Café, Mission Possible Catering, and Mission Possible Cookies, find the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the real world. “My job is to re-instill a work ethic. You’ve got to show up. You’ve got to be professional. You’ve got to interact with the customers – this is a real job.

Sometimes their self-esteem is low, and they don’t think they can do it. We stick by them, show them they have the capabilities and give them the encouragement to push for it.” Pat supplies the moxie that gets our men and women moving toward success, but it’s your support that makes the whole process possible.

 

Thank you for the prayers and financial partnership that gives so many hope for real transformation and a path to self-sufficiency. “I’m here to show them that, no matter what happens in life, Christ is able to get you back on your feet.” That’s a lesson we would all do well to  remember. Thank you, Pat, and welcome to the Phoenix Rescue Mission team!