Changing Lives Center

HOPE for a whole family

The destructive effects of addiction aren’t limited to the individual. The children who witness their parents struggle, who suffer abandonment, neglect, who must weather domestic violence and survive homelessness, are very nearly devastated by it.

Rebecca knows it first-hand. She grew up in a home filled with all of the above. In fact, it was so toxic that she felt she had no choice but to run away from home at 13, never to return.

Growing up in such a broken home was an experience she never wanted for her little girl.

Thanks to your support of the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center, she, and hundreds of kids just like her, never will.

Drug life, violence, gangs, all of it, was a part of my life ever since I ran away,” Rebecca admits. “I begged for food, sold drugs, committed crimes, I did whatever I could to survive.”

For 20 long years, Rebecca never had a place of her own. When she couldn’t find a couch to crash on for the night, the streets were her home. Over the years, her addiction led to multiple run-ins with the law. She was sent to prison four times. The last time, she went in pregnant.

And that’s when everything changed.

“I gave birth to my daughter while I was incarcerated and they took her. My DCS [Department of Child Safety] worker took me aside and told me, ‘I know you’re used to a certain way of life, but there’s this place, some of my other clients have gone there, and it’s literally changed their life. If you decide to go and you get through the first part of recovery, I’ll give you your baby back and close your case.’”

Rebecca had been on her own for so long, she didn’t trust anyone, especially a free recovery center. She knew there had to be a catch – but she didn’t want to lose her daughter.

“I definitely wasn’t thrilled about coming to the Phoenix Rescue Mission. I actually told Pastor Will while we were in foundations class that I was going to get my baby back and I was going to leave. I never thought I would stay for two years.”

It took some tough love, but Rebecca found a hope here she never thought she was good enough to receive.

“In one of the classes, I told the class that ‘I can sit here and tell you that Jesus died for you guys, but he didn’t die for me.’ Pastor Will called me out on it. He said, “I’m going to challenge you on that. Are you God? If God can forgive you, who are you to not forgive you?’ That’s what it took. I’m very hardheaded and independent, so I needed someone to call me out and challenge me.”

It was at that point that things started changing for Rebecca.

“You know how they tell you that when you read the Bible, things are just going to pop out at you? I was always like, ‘Yeah, ok, you guys are full of it.’ But then it started happening for me. The first one that jumped off the page was Exodus 14:14: ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ God was telling me, just be still and let me do my work. So I let go and things just started falling into place.”

But Rebecca admits none of the transformation she’s experienced would have been possible without having her daughter by her side.

“If I couldn’t have my daughter with me during recovery, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. The whole reason I wanted to change my life was because of her. What is life without your child, y’know?”

Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Changing Lives Center (CLC) is unique in that transformation is possible for more than the individual – it’s available here for the whole family.

“I’ve never done the first time parenting sober, so it was rough, it was hard. Thankfully, I had a lot of help from our amazing counselors and childcare teachers who worked with me. They helped get me through a lot of moments when I felt like giving up.”

While their parents find hope, children receive daycare and counseling as well.

“A lot of the kids here have issues. They’ve seen the drug use, the domestic violence, parents removed from their homes, a lot of things that they’ve had to suffer through. That comes out as behavioral issues, and insecurity. Not trusting that your mom is going to pick you up after school, that hurts. It’s intense.”

But it’s not just emotional issues. On the streets, healthy meals and proper care and attention just aren’t possible. To restore the children who call the CLC home, the Phoenix Rescue Mission partners with Dental Home Concepts, Canyon Pediatrics, and Parsons Family Health Care.

We have a lot of kids with bad teeth. Others have been malnourished. They come in underweight, unable to thrive. “My daughter gets to see Mrs. Mickey [Dental Hygienist at the CLC] every month for cleanings and a checkup. And she sees Canyon Pediatrics for her well-child checkups and her shots.”

Today, Rebecca and her daughter are well on their way to a bright future. Rebecca has found sobriety as a graduate from our recovery program, she’s completed our rigorous Ministry Training program and was even hired in August as our new Work Therapy Coordinator!

“Other recovery centers don’t give you the love, support and the biblical principles that make all the difference. Here they really help you to dig deep and get to the root of the issue. This place has changed my life – both of our lives!”