Hope Network will help mentor former inmates through ‘Circle of Hope’ program
What hope can do — that’s what Hope Network organizers wanted to show at Tuesday’s meeting, held at the Danville Church of God on South Fourth Street.
That’s why they brought in Robert Rodriguez, who, through the help of the Hope Network, was able to attend drug rehabilitation. Rodriguez shared about a small part of his path from addiction to recovery.
“I began turning to things that numbed me, that made me feel what I thought was to be whole. Little did I know — I turned to the one person who had stolen from me in the first place. I turned towards the devil. I began to use scripture to mock God, just as Satan did in Matthew, chapter four verse six,” he said.
Rodriguez also referenced the book of Job, but said, “I failed miserably when my faith was tested.”
“I now realize in my deepest darkest days, the Lord was right by my side the entire time. He heard my cries for help,” he said. “He had his arm reaching for me the entire time; the only thing left for me to do was reach back.”
Through the help of the Hope Network, Rodriguez was able to get into treatment for his addiction to heroin at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.
“I felt like people like Pastor (Jason) Kilby, Pastor (James) Hunn and my sister Toni (Ward) were my angels in the night, telling me to not take the same path in which I took to get there,” he said.
Rodriguez recently returned home from his six-month stay, and said he was “thankful” to those at the meeting.
“It’s people like you that make a difference in our communities. It’s people like you that give those like myself a chance, even when our actions dictate that we don’t deserve one. It’s people like you that save a wretch like me,” Rodriguez said.
“I feel I am here to serve as a living, walking testimony to the thousands that continue to struggle daily. The thousands that feel that they’re trapped and their only way out is death,” Rodriguez said. “I stand here today and I can honestly say I know how that feels.”
After Rodriguez shared his story, it was Jarod Tomas’ turn. Tomas has been clean and sober for “eight years, seven months and two weeks,” and has been showing up every day to help those who need it.
“In a jail cell, I made a deal … I said, ‘God, if you help me, I’ll suit up and show up everyday,’” he said.
Tomas is the director of Shepherd’s House, the organization that has been contracted to run the Substance Abuse Program at the Boyle County Detention Center and the new intensive outpatient treatment program that will soon be available for some former inmates of the jail.
“Most of them go to work every day with no tools in their tool belt … That’s our job, to give them tools so they can do their work,” Tomas said. “I can treat you for drugs and alcohol, and that will really help you. But how do I get you a job? How do I get you treatment if you’re bipolar? How do I get an AA meeting to you? How do I help your mother? How do I help your father?”
The intensive outpatient treatment program will aim to equip its clients and their families with the tools they need to succeed, living clean and sober, he said. Those tools include education, good mental health and job skills training, all of which will be provided from the program’s headquarters in the old Red Cross building on South Third Street.
The Hope Network is part of the services that will be offered out of that building with its new Circle of Hope program, which will pair formerly incarcerated people in need of drug and alcohol treatment with mentors to support them. Hope Network Director Danny Fields will have an office at the location, teaching classes in interviewing skills, resumé building, and other “soft” job skills, such as dress and attitude.
“This community actually takes action steps. If you don’t take action steps, it’s nothing but a plan,” Tomas said. “We’re going to hit this thing from every angle. We’re not just going to treat you for drug addiction. We’re also going to teach you how to do a resumé, how to get a job — more importantly, how to keep a job.”
SO YOU KNOW
There are three opportunities to help Hope Network and others with their efforts to combat drug addiction:
• Mentoring children: working with the Hope Network and area churches, such as Junction City First Baptist, the Kids Hope USA program is being implemented. There’s a high standard of training, said Robert Hignite, board member for the Hope Network. A training session for those interested in becoming mentors will be held at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 25 at Junction City First Baptist Church.
• Celebrate Recovery is a long-running 12-step recovery program that focuses on God and the role of faith in recovery. It is open to recovering addicts and their families. There are eight different Celebrate Recovery programs going on in Boyle, Mercer and Garrard counties, some in churches and some in community facilities. The ultimate goal, Hignite said, is to have a program available in the area on every night except Sunday. Anyone interested in helping with a Celebrate Recovery program can contact Billy Burrows at (859) 325-8808.
• Circle of Hope is seeking 20 men to work as mentors for the first 20 male clients of the intensive outpatient treatment program. To become a mentor through the outpatient center or to work with those inside the jail, there will be a Prison Rape Elimination Act training at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at Faith Church, 4080 South Danville Bypass. Another training will be held later in February. Those interested in learning more can contact Chief Deputy Brian Wofford at (859) 238-1127.
Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.
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