It’s that time of the year again; Fall. Admired for the pleasant temperatures and vibrant floral colors, Fall is an anticipated time of the year for many. Unfortunately here in Northeast Florida, not much change is seen in our vegetation or climate. For Mission House, however, a transformation is being seen daily.
Mission House staff serves a minimum of 250 visitors a month. These visitors come to Mission House for a variety of reasons. The Mission House Clinic provides immediate medical care to those exhibiting pain or chronic medical issues that need attention. For adult men and women who find themselves circumstantially homeless or jobless, Mission House case managers develop plans to restore their independence. Lastly, Mission House also facilitates programs and services designed to rehabilitate broken individuals facing a drug or alcohol addiction
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,” Dennis quotes Romans 8:28 in telling his story. As the former Mission House client will tell you, he and God have come a long way. There were many obstacles to overcome from the start. Dennis’ father was killed when he was two, and his mother became very unstable and did not manage the grief very well. He was raised in Chicago in a home where watching people shoot up was common. He remembers watching people overdose. He was using marijuana and alcohol at age eight and was removed from his home by Child Protective Services at age 11. He was in several foster homes before being placed in a group home where he nearly completed high school and was able to get his GED. However, he began using cocaine and PCP and stealing to support the habit. He was hanging with the wrong crowd, making bad choices, stealing from family to support his gambling addiction, and was in and out of jail. He vowed to get serious about pursuing God, the 12 steps, and the man he truly wants to be.
Although Dennis had spent over 10 years in Jacksonville, he had never heard of the Mission House. While he was in jail, Dennis has heard some fellow inmates talking about Mission House and the services they provide. After he was released in June of 2015, Dennis made his way to see how Mission House could help him. Coming to Mission House, he began meeting one on one with a MH case manager that included developing a plan to obtain employment, housing, and substance abuse services. Thanks to Mission House, Dennis was able to land a night job at V-Pizza, currently lives at TruSoba, a faith-based clean and sober house run by Jeffrey Browne where he also works there in maintenance and construction. On his free time, Dennis loves giving back to the Jacksonville community. He is an active volunteer at BEAM, Mission House, and other local agencies while holding onto the faith that God will continue to show him ways to grow and will continue to provide and “work for the good” every step of the way.