Testimonials By Program Members

Rose Marie Coffey

Rose Marie Coffey

Sleeping behind garbage cans and in doorways I’d cry myself to sleep. I was always afraid, always looking over my shoulder, knowing that I could be the next victim of the streets. Weak and alone I turned to drugs and alcohol for comfort. Soon, drug dealers were asking me for favors. I’d admit myself into a detox center to escape them, eat hot food, and sleep in a warm bed; it was a cycle, living on the streets and the temporary escape of a detox center. Six months I ran and hid to keep myself safe!

This January was the ending of my vicious cycle; I enrolled into the Women’s Recovery Program at the Bay Area Rescue Mission. The first night I slept on a mat in the nursery, all the beds were taken, but I was so happy they didn’t turn me away.

Recovery is a process that is shared with other people, some I know, and some I hope to meet to tell them thank-you. I’m grateful for the opportunities offered by the recovery program. Sometimes all I can do is trust all is well, even though it’s not as I had hoped. On bad days I need only to reflect on the past to know that I’m moving in the right direction.

Identity hidden to protect the individual

Identity hidden to protect the individual

Unemployment and eviction devastated my family; we lost everything except our hope. Having been clean and sober for two years, I knew well the damage that alcohol could have on my life. I could have used this situation as a reason to start drinking again, but sobriety is power and freedom. Not freedom from the trials of life, but freedom to rely upon my inner strength to carry me through.

In April of 2012, I started calling the Bay Area Rescue Mission for help, but they were always full. Our only alternatives were the motels that catered to the homeless. It was a day to day struggle to eat and keep a roof over our heads, but we managed with the help of family and friends. They encouraged me not to give up, to keep calling the Rescue Mission, and in August they had space, but only for me. It was very hard to explain to my boys that we had to separate.

I know that my decisions have a lasting impact on my life and the lives of my children. Continuing on the road of recovery I know that they are with me. I’m never alone. I’m learning to trust the lifeline offered to me by the program and the women here. I’m thankful for all that they are giving me: a renewed hope.

Monica Johnson Lee

Monica Johnson Lee

My life changed in an instant! I was living in a fully furnished apartment with my husband and daughter, taking vacations, with no worries. Then, everything was gone, seized by the IRS. No one wanted to take us in, so we lived in our car. Depressed and confused we turned to drugs and alcohol to relieve the pain that comes when you feel hopeless. In my moments of clarity, I’d call the Bay Area Rescue Mission to see if they had room, but I knew that I wasn’t ready to change my life. So it was a relief when they told me that they were full.

The car wasn’t that bad, I’d tell myself. I felt trapped; my husband became more abusive and blamed me for all the tragedy. After the third month he put me out. Evicted from the car, I felt betrayed, abandoned and forsaken, but my four year old daughter gave me courage. Over and over she assured me it would be alright.

When I called the Women’s Shelter this time, I was ready for a change and they were ready to have me. This community of healing women allows us to share our pain without ridicule and judgment. Each of us has a story to tell that others can benefit from. It is this pain that is our gift. Here I feel loved. Love is powerful. And I know that it will change the direction of my life.

Testimonials By Program Graduates

Mimi Wells and Brianna Zupan

Mimi Wells and Brianna Zupan

I did not receive love as a child; instead I was put in charge of raising my younger siblings. As I matured, I wanted love so badly that I chose abusive relationships which led me to numb the pain of neglect and verbal abuse with narcotics.

Once I dissolved the last relationship, I wasn’t able to find a job. My daughter and I spent years on bouncing around from place to place. We even lived in my old Volvo for more than six months. No one took us in. To stay dry and safe in winter, my 13 year old daughter and I would spend nights and weekends at Target.

On February 29, 2008, one day before Brianna’s 14th birthday, we moved into the Mission. I was determined to find a new life. Today I am clean, sober and employed as a Data Entry Clerk here at the Mission. Brianna is a top student and will attend college. My deepest thanks go to Jesus my Lord and for everyone who makes the Bay Area Rescue Mission a safe haven for the homeless and hurting!

Maxine Mars

Maxine Mars

My childhood was very abusive and left deep scars. Because of my emotional pain, I isolated myself from my family and friends. I was angry with life and God. Then, I lost my job and that was the beginning of the end for me. I added drugs to my abuse of alcohol. At rock bottom, homeless and frightened, I came through the doors of the Bay Area Rescue Mission.

It was here I was introduced to the Bible, and sought a personal relationship with God. He met me here, renewed my health, gave me a happy heart and reconciled my broken relationships. Today I am a teacher of family reconciliation and parenting, and as a Women’s Ministry Staff Member, I am pursuing a degree in Human Services and Early Childhood Education, so that I can help others have the joy and confidence God has given me.

Tara Amado

Tara Amado

Before coming here to the Bay Area Rescue Mission my life was hopeless. I experienced the horror of Hurricane Katrina, and I was mad at God. I thought that it would be better to be dead. But God sent me to the Bay Area Rescue Mission, where I was treated with love and respect where I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I was deeply moved and I pleaded with God to save me.

He heard my cry and pulled me out of despair. I joined the Mission’s Home of New Beginnings Program and read the Bible for encouragement. Not only did I find healing, but God gave me compassion for homeless women and a calling to help them succeed. Today I am pursuing my college degree in Human Services and hope to attend Bible College so that I can bless other women by teaching God’s word.