Your Background Can Follow You Anywhere
"I'm that type of person, if someone needs help they can call me, I'll be there for them. There's a lot of people right now out there on the street, and if I see them I drop what I'm doing and help them, then I go back to what I was doing," says Steven, one of recent Crossroads graduates. But he wasn't always this way.
Steven was raised in a strict home, and by his teenage years he'd had enough of the rules. "I was a little bit of a rebel in my teenage years. And then it finally caught up to me."
In his 20's, after years of minor offenses, Steven made the mistake that put him behind bars for the next 25 years.
"It was rough. My background followed me into prison; I was hanging around with a lot of the wrong people there," he recalls. For 17 more years, he continued to live a dark and angry lifestyle behind the prison walls.
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Just One Time
Then in 2010, something changed. "A lot of the good people kept inviting me to hang with them. One of the Christian brothers invited me to come to a church service, and I said 'I'll come, but just one time.' After that one time I never stopped going."
Steven gave his life to Christ and began to spend time with better influences, while continuing to share his testimony with his former crew. "They noticed the change in me and asked how I did that," Steven remembers. "I told them, 'I gave my life to Christ and started reading the scriptures.' Many of them ended up giving their lives to Christ too, and now they're preachers on the street."
A Place to Move Forward
Despite his new life, Steven still had nowhere to go when his exit date finally came in late spring 2018, so a friend took him straight to Crossroads Men's Crisis Center. Here, Steven found the community he needed to make a healthy transition to life outside of the prison. Classes such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, "helped me straighten out my thinking." he recalls. "Before [Crossroads] I had a lot of confusion. Now I'm more organized. I got control of my anger and learned how to handle conflict with anybody."
Today, Steven is focused on the future. He loves to tinker with bikes and has volunteers to fix those of his friends' that need repairs. He also has several housing options he's working through, and is currently training as an assistant manager at a local drugstore.
"Without The City Mission, I'd be sleeping on Public Square. But now I'm thinking that in five years I'll be starting my own business doing mobile bicycle repairs. I have all kinds of ideas and I'm looking forward to what's gonna happen."
Steven is keeping The City Mission part of his big dreams for the future too. "I plan on coming back here and sharing my story with the new guys - how this place changed me and how my thinking is better than it was before. I've also made up my mind to be a donor someday. Because without this place and those who support it, there'd be so many more sleeping on the streets."
Before The City Mission, I was lost. Because of The City Mission, I am grateful.