Tommy started using drugs when he was only eight years old. “I got into crack, cocaine, heroin – anything I could get my hands on,” he says. “When I was 10, I started using meth.” His mother sent him to live with his grandmother when he was 15, hoping it would help, but things only got worse. “From the time I was 16, I was in and out of foster homes, group homes, and jails. I quit school, lied, stole and hurt people, and I didn’t care,” Tommy says. “Then I started making and selling meth and coke, and the more I made, the more I wanted it.” Tommy served a 10-year prison sentence for manufacturing and selling drugs. After his release, he went on a drinking binge.
It was then his parole officer suggested he come to Rescue Mission of Utica. Tommy decided it was worth a try. He didn’t believe in God when he arrived at our Parker House Aftercare Program, but when he saw the joy of the others in the program, he wanted what they had. “I started praying for forgiveness and I got baptized,” Tommy says. “Now, I pray every morning and read my Bible, and God has been showing me the right things to do.” Tommy has now earned his GED and plans to go into Phase 4 of our Aftercare Program, where he’ll receive spiritual mentoring while training for work in asbestos removal. “Without the Mission, I’d probably be back on drugs, on the street, in prison or dead,” he says. “They’ve shown me how to get close to God and given me the tools to stay clean.”