Seeing that man frozen on the streets changed my life
"Now, by the grace of God, I use my past to help other people..."
My name is Thomas. You'd be surprised how many people are functioning addicts…because I was one of them.
At age 13, kids from my neighborhood in Brooklyn introduced me to drugs. In those days, you were an outcast if you didn't get high.
For 33 years, I thought I was in control, but drugs ruled my life. I served in the Army. I worked hard and ran a successful cleaning business. But eventually, my appetite for drugs got so insatiable, my paycheck couldn't support it. I started dealing drugs and ended up in prison.
When I got out of prison, I had nothing. I lived in Grand Central Station, got high and bummed money from people. One day, I saw a homeless man frozen to death on the streets, and it broke my heart. I made a vow that I wouldn't live that way.
A few days later, someone told me that I could sleep at The Bowery Mission. I was grateful for the shelter they provided. No one else should have to die on the cold streets. Soon, I began to answer phones and direct people at the Mission's front desk. I learned how to serve others—helping with the meal services, shower program and clothing room. The Bowery Mission gave me a structured life.
Today, I am a certified drug counselor for the state of Florida. For 14 years, I directed The House of Hope in Gainesville, helping ex-convicts assimilate back into society. And every Friday, I serve as a chaplain at the local jail. My heart is to help restore men and give them a new direction—just how I was changed 20 years ago.
I was a prisoner and a crackhead. But now, by the grace of God, I use my past to help other people.
Thanks to The Bowery Mission, my life has changed profoundly, and the world is becoming a better place.
Broken men who come to The Bowery Mission, like Thomas, need care, compassion and help to rebuild their lives. Your gifts help make that happen. Please give generously.
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