Glendale: Empowered [Joanne’s story]

Training in the Microsoft Office suite, helping build resumes, and teaching interview techniques are just some of the services provided at the Glendale Empowerment Center.

Over the past 11 years, Rhonda has seen a lot of changes at the Mission. She was there for the opening of the Changing Lives Center for Women & Children in 2011, the addition of the Hope for Hunger Food Bank in 2017 and the opening of the men’s Life Recovery Building in June 2021.

But it’s what’s happening now that’s got our Vocational Development Manager the most excited.

Phoenix Rescue Mission and Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) are joining forces under one roof to create a powerful new tool to protect families and prevent homelessness – the Glendale Empowerment Center.

The Vocational Development Program at Phoenix Rescue Mission has been so successful for our men and women in recovery that in 2019, we made the decision to offer those services to the public at our Hope for Hunger Food Bank in Glendale. The community responded in a big way.

“We were doing very well helping individuals find jobs,” says Rhonda who heads our Vocational Development Program. “It got to the point where I started hosting GED classes three times a week to keep up. But in 2020, Covid hit and we had to stop offering classes and tutoring out of the food bank.”

COVID canceled a lot of things, but we couldn’t let this program be one of them. A new solution had to be found.

“One day we received a call from Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS). They heard about our vocational program and wanted to find out more.”

It turned out that CASS had an open office and classroom space in a zip code that desperately needed a robust educational and employment assistance program. Meanwhile, our vocational program needed a safe space to serve the community.

What followed was a collaboration that brought the best of both worlds together in one place – the Glendale Empowerment Center.

"If a client doesn’t have a high school diploma or GED, we’ll start there. We offer computer courses, training in the Microsoft Office suite, customer service skills, resume building, interview techniques and a deep dive in career exploration."

"All of it is designed to expose men and women to the possibilities available."

It’s exactly what Joanne needed to move forward. As a divorced homemaker tasked with providing for her four kids on her own, her situation seemed hopeless – until your support and prayers for the Mission helped her see beyond her circumstances.

“In line for a food box at Hope for Hunger, I saw a flyer on the wall and started asking questions. They told me about the program and that’s when it all started to come together for us.”

With Rhonda’s careful guidance, Joanna earned her GED and found a promising career path into the healthcare field.

Joanne proudly displays the diploma you helped her earn. This mother of four is well on her way to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant thanks to your support.

“Rhonda helped me get my fingerprint clearance card and my CPR license. They even had a tutor come in and guide me and show me some of the places where I was struggling, and they paid for the GED pre-tests. They did everything. All I had to do was show up. I was just like, ‘Wow!’ I can’t say enough good things about them. They’re amazing.”

Through the Glendale Empowerment Center, men and women like Joanna who are working on their education and career search can also find housing and medical assistance through our partnership with CASS and other service providers joining forces at the Center, making success easier than ever before. This expanded location also fits hand-in-glove with our Glendale Works Program, making for an immediate impact on even more lives.

“The homeless we reach through our Glendale Works program are now also offered a ride back here. We can take walk-ins immediately. There are showers and lockers on site making opportunities not only for daily labor, but also for housing through CASS and education and employment opportunities through us. It’s a win-win-win situation!”

Through your support, each day our Vocational Development Program is giving a hand up to men and women at our residential campuses and across the Valley.

Even after 11 years of seeing God’s hand at work at the Mission, advances like this prove to Rhonda that the best is yet to come.

“It just keeps growing and evolving and expanding. We’re already meeting with CASS about the possibility of collaborating and offering vocational services at two additional campuses. There’s such a need out there so that’s really exciting!”

“Some days you see clients that don’t take advantage of all that’s available, maybe they’re just not ready. But we keep on planting seeds and watch for the Lord to start to heal their lives. Seeing them hold up a diploma or be accepted for a new job – that’s what keeps me coming back. It’s motivating. At some point, those seeds will grow.”

Seeing women embark on a path to success is what motivates and rewards Rhonda (right), who leads our Vocational Development Program.

Education for Transformation

The newest ‘Lopes – Brian Farretta, Jesse Dallariva and Amanda Jaramillo, three graduates of the PRM Recovery Program – each receive full scholarships to Grand Canyon University.

Amanda Jaramillo, Brian Farretta, Jacqueline Mix and Jesse Dallariva are shining examples of what happens when you take God at His word.

Not too long ago, each of these individuals found themselves addicted, broken, and in some cases homeless – but you would never know it looking at where they’re at today.

Through God’s grace and your support, their lives have been restored – a fact that Grand Canyon University recently celebrated by honoring each one with full scholarships to attend college this fall.

“These people have had some significant challenges… they’ve gone through the Phoenix Rescue Mission program, they’ve come out of it successfully and they’ve started their new life,” said GCU President Brian Mueller at Signing Day. “For us to be able to offer them this opportunity to take their life now to a whole new level is a blessing.”

For Brian Farretta, this is the latest in a long line of blessings since surrendering to God.

“I decided that I wanted Him to be in charge of everything. Since I’ve done that, I’ve gotten married, I have wonderful in-laws and now I have this scholarship. Furthering my education on a faith-based campus will be monumental for me.

Amanda plans to use this scholarship to pursue her dream of sharing the hope she’s found with others by studying Counseling with an Emphasis in Substance Abuse.

The counseling I received at the Phoenix Rescue Mission was so impactful in my life. I want to be able to do that for someone else,” says Amanda. “Having this opportunity is everything to me. It’s beyond my wildest dreams and I just feel so blessed.”

Jesse Dallariva, who will be pursuing a Masters in Business with an emphasis in Health Systems with this second scholarship, sees it as a testament to God’s amazing ability to transform a life.

“I was someone seven years ago that was homeless, on the streets, addicted to drugs and had no hope,” says Jesse. “I was an outcast that never thought I would be in any part of normal functioning society and so, to be here where I’m at now, with the extras of family, friends and support, is just amazing.”

On behalf of everyone here at Phoenix Rescue Mission, congratulations!

Jesse Dallariva, who will be pursuing a masters with his second scholarship, shares his journey from homelessness to wholeness, thanks to your support of Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Changing the Future of Homelessness – Brick by Brick | Jason’s Story

It’s 7 a.m. when our Street Outreach van pulls up outside a church on East Osborn Road. Despite the early morning cold, a group of five is already there ready and waiting for a chance to make a difference.

Each one is experiencing homelessness, but they’ve heard word on the street that there are meals to be had and money to be made doing a job that might directly benefit them someday.

Jason boards the van, joking and laughing, knowing he’s not only in for an honest day’s work, but something more. He’s heard that what he’s building today has the potential to change the state of homelessness in Arizona – one brick at a time.

It’s called Scottsdale Works and it’s the newest program at Phoenix Rescue Mission. Like Glendale Works, it gives men and women on the streets the opportunity to earn a fair wage for an honest day’s labor while connecting them to all the life-changing resources Phoenix Rescue Mission has to offer.

While Glendale Works cleans dirt in city beautification projects, Scottsdale Works is using dirt to build the future, brick by brick.

The Scottsdale Works program is designed to engage individuals experiencing homelessness in Scottsdale, provide them with the dignity of earning a wage, and connect them with services that can break down the barriers that are keeping them homeless - all while providing a service to the community as a whole.

“Once cured, the bricks are very strong,” says Mike Lopach who oversees operations in this joint venture with the City of Scottsdale.

“The hope is to use these bricks to benefit people experiencing homelessness by building tiny home communities,” says Mike. “They’ve got them in Detroit, St. Louis and Portland. But where those are built from sheds, we are building ours out of much more energy-efficient bricks. The key is to provide a dignified living space that is welcoming and has services available.

Mike and Jason check the measurement of a brick. The team is capable of producing enough bricks to complete one tiny home every four to five days.

Working together, participants are able to produce about 50-60 bricks per hour or about 250-300 per day. With 200 square-foot tiny homes requiring about 1,500 bricks each, this team is capable of crafting enough to produce one home every four to five days.

Since launching on November 30, 2020, the program has already changed Jason’s life. Homeless for over 20 years, Jason found work through Scottsdale Works as one of our first participants and today he’s living in the first apartment he’s ever had to himself.

“It’s a dream,” says Jason with a smile. “I don’t have to worry about sitting at the bus stop or trying to find a dry place at night to sleep. I can come and go as I please. I have some money in my pocket; it’s not much but it’s enough.”

Jason isn’t the only one feeling pride in their work and where it’s got them. In the first few months of operation, Scottsdale Works already has a rotating team of 20 strong with more on the way.

“The goal is to keep our participants coming back two or three times a month… enough time to see progress – to see some of our services in action in the lives of their co-workers,” says Reese, our Street Outreach Coordinator for Scottsdale Works, “For example, we were able to furnish Jason’s new apartment with a microwave, pots and pans, dishes and linens, all the necessities you need for an apartment. Once the other participants hear about it, they start asking what else we can do – and that opens the door to all sorts of transformation.

Scottsdale Works is another example of how your support is making transformation possible in new and innovative ways.

“If this hadn’t come along, I’d still be on the streets,” says Jason. “After so many years, I figured I’d die on the streets. This gave me new hope.

Reese (left), our Street Outreach Coordinator for Scottsdale Works, helped navigate Jason off the streets, into his own apartment, and connected him to services to help set him up for success.

Mission Possible Cafe Celebrate One Year Anniversary

We just celebrated Action Hunger Month, which precedes the first anniversary of the grand opening of Mission Possible Cafe, a social enterprise owned and operated by the Phoenix Rescue Mission - a non-profit dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness.

It's a special time for all of us at the cafe because of what the restaurant has done to change the lives of all our employees, each of whom have struggled with homelessness, addiction or trauma.

For me, Mission Possible Cafe has made life possible again.

I would have never thought when I took my first painkiller that I would ever end up homeless. I never would have thought a decade of my life could be lost to drugs. The worst part about taking that first pill was the effect it would have on my two children.

You see, it's difficult enough living out of a car, not knowing where you'd end up or how you're going to survive the day. But pales in comparison to knowing what it's like to watch your kids sift through the trunk of the car, desperately looking for clean clothes for school. It pains me to this day that they know when to tuen their heads while I put a needle in my ar,.

I nearly lost everything to my addiction. My house. My belongings, My kids. I was in and out go haul several times. It almost took my life. Thankful, by the grace of God, my probation officer took me to the Phoenix Rescue Mission's Changing Lives Center for women and children August of 2015.

As part of my treatment, I helped the Mission open and run Mission Possible Cafe, a Mexican-American restaurant in the downtown Phoenix area that serves breakfast and rich. Besides offering delicious, original recipes, the goal of the cafe is to change the lives of the men and women in trcovery at the phoenix Rescue Mission.

The cafe provides, real-world culinary-,amazement experience tot this in trvobery and also provides funding for the Mission vocation training program, which is part of a long-term recoevery program among to end the cycle of homelessness and addiction.


I am now 34 years old. I am a graduatee of the Phoenix Rescue Mission's long-term recovery program, and I just celebrated my third year of sobriety. For many who've had a history like mine, getting clean is half the battle. THere's still an entire world our there that wasn't made for people who have court records instead of diplomas. But because of Mission Possible Cafe, I completed my recovery treatment with real-world, on-th-job experience while earning a high school diploma through the services available at the Mission.

When I graduated the Mission's program, I landed an assistant manager position at a doughnut and coffee chain, I have a stable home for me and my children and I was asked to come back and manage the front of the house for Mission Possible Cafe.

So, this year means a lot to me and my Mission Possible team. For our one year anniversary, we invited the community and our neighbors to come have lunch on us! A special thanks to Nathan's Hotdogs, who provided 200 hotdogs to share to hungry guests who came through our doors. We enjoyed cake together and Mission Possibbe Cookies baked fresh by women going through the progaram at the Changing Lives Center for women and children.

It is only through your support that the Cafe is able to function as a place for our community to break bread together, and support men and women working towards new life at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.When you eat at the cafe, know that 100% of proceeds at Mission Possible Cafe go directly to those in need. The very men and women that take your order, make your coffee, and prepare your food, you are liftin up and saying, "we care."

Thank you, Phoenix, for supporting those of us who just needed someone to show them that anything is possible.


-Seanna Perry

Mission Possible Cafe - front of house manager








Hungry for Change

We’ve all been hungry. But few of us have experienced real hunger – the gnawing, painful, desperate need for something, anything to put in our stomach. It comes when our kitchen is bare, when we don’t know when our next meal will be. The crippling ache inside drowns out anything other than finding a meal. Not many of us know true hunger. But you know who does? Our kids.

In Arizona, 1 in 3 children are experiencing this kind of painful, debilitating hunger. And that has to change.

While it’s true that hunger knows no age, race, or gender, it is fundamentally tied to poverty — and poverty is rampant in Arizona. In fact, Phoenix ranks as having the 3rd highest
poverty rate among the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S. When 30% of your neighbors are working poor, it’s no wonder that a third of our children are going hungry.

We can change that – by removing the need for families to choose between bills and food – and giving them a chance to get back on their feet. The good news is – you are already a part of that change.

Through your support of Phoenix Rescue Mission, you are making a difference – not only in the lives of hungry children, but their families and their communities as a whole. One way you are joining the fight is through Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank in Glendale. It’s an outreach dedicated to addressing both hunger and poverty.

Every day 130 families travel from surrounding areas to find emergency food and more, ready and waiting at Hope for Hunger.

Another way you help is through our Community Market, held every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, where we provide families with access to free clothing, shoes, water, and food bags – all designed to give working poor families a hand up. If you, or anyone you know needs help with any of the above needs, email

It’s been one year since opening the Mission Possible Café, where your support provides men and women with real-world experience in food preparation, service and management – building resumés and providing a path to well-paying careers in the restaurant industry that puts food on the table.

But as great as all these things are, none of them are possible without the prayers, volunteer hours and financial support of friends like you. While it’s true that hunger is a huge issue that won’t be solved overnight, allowing a third of our children to go hungry in Arizona isn’t acceptable. The Phoenix Rescue Mission is committed to providing Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger and homelessness. Together, we can change that sad statistic in so many powerful ways. “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?... And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” - Matthew 25:37 & 40 Thank you for the partnership that continues to reach out to the hungry, not only with food, but with hope, help, and a path to true transformation.