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Michael’s hope story: “My goal was to see my son again”

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Friends like you helped Michael get a second chance at life and love

Michael was born in New York City but raised in Brazil, where he lived most of his life. About 10 years ago, he moved to New Jersey to learn English and look for new opportunities. He got jobs in construction and plumbing, but the environment he was in wasn’t healthy, and he began to struggle with an addiction to alcohol and then drugs. As a result, he started having relationship challenges that frequently got heated. When the police had to intervene, he went to jail for five days.

A wake-up call

After he was released, Michael realized he needed to change his environment — otherwise, he would be tempted to return to his previous ways. His mom had died a few years before, but he still wanted to make her proud. Michael shares, “I started praying. I said, ‘Lord, help me. This is not the life my mom wanted me to live.’”

When he started looking online for help, Michael found The Bowery Mission and called. “I said I needed help, and they let me in,” he remembers. The Mission’s overnight shelter was a place for him to press the “reset” button in life.

Ready for a second chance

At The Bowery Mission, Michael spoke with a social worker. He said he wanted to get his life on track. After she explained our longer-term Residential Program, he responded to her, “Yes, I’m ready!”

Around the same time, Michael began reflecting on what relationships to prioritize and which to let go. He was able to reconnect with his dad on the phone. He encouraged Michael, telling him he made a great decision to seek help.

More than anything, Michael wanted to be someone his young son could look up to. “My goal was to see my son again. I had given up hope. But when I got here, I just thought about how I love my son and how I wanted to show him I can do better for myself. When I found the Mission, the first thing I thought was, ‘God gave me an opportunity again,’” he says.

God answers Michael’s prayers

As a client in our Residential Program, Michael learned skills for remaining sober, received vocational training and became OSHA-certified in construction. He soon got a new job in construction, and at the same time, began taking steps toward getting his GED.

For Michael, The Bowery Mission was a place for meaningful friendships and reconnection with God. He says, “Working on myself was spiritual too.” With the mentorship of his counselor and other staff members, he also learned how to work through difficult situations and remain calm in moments of stress.

“[My counselor] encouraged me to think about how I can handle difficult situations and the different choices I can make. He was always helping me feel calm and find ways to be patient and feel more in control.” — Michael

Michael experiencing a second chance at graduation

Michael graduated from our Residential Program at the end of January. Today he’s back living in New Jersey, commuting daily into New York City for work and school. Shortly after leaving the program, he reconnected with his son’s mother and the two were married!

By God’s grace and thanks to the help of friends like you, Michael experienced life change at The Bowery Mission and has a renewed vision for the future. He hopes to go on to college and possibly pursue digital marketing.

Michael reflects, “First and foremost, The Bowery Mission was a place for me to reconnect to God. I began to see him at work in every part of life — in my job, in my family and myself. And when asked what gives him the most joy in his life now, he says, “Spending time with my son and my family, and going to church.” Michael believes that today, his life has purpose and it is to serve God and help others.

Michael experiencing a second chance at his wedding

“I was trying to look for an opportunity to move forward. I wanted to work. I wanted to stop drugs. I wanted better for myself. And The Bowery Mission gave me an opportunity.” — Michael

You can help others find a second chance and experience new life

Your support helps restore lives and lead people like Michael on a path towards flourishing. Thank you for your compassion that makes the life-changing work of The Bowery Mission possible!