06 Mar Leland’s Story
Four years ago, Leland made a decision that he says “changed everything.” But it wasn’t the choice he originally intended to make.
“I’d spent several days on the street. All I could think was, ‘Why am I still alive?’ I was out at a bridge, thinking about how I could end it all.”
Years of addiction and anxiety—stemming from loneliness and a troubled childhood—had taken their toll. But instead of an ending, that day at the bridge ushered in a new beginning.
“Something came over me,” he remembers. “It could only be God.” He found himself making his way to our men’s shelter. There he found safety and compassion, received a meal from a volunteer that “gave him his first glimpse of hope” and made the decision to enter our life recovery program.
In August 2016, Leland graduated from our program . . . but that wasn’t the end of his Hope Ministries journey.
Another new beginning
“Ever since I graduated, I’ve become more sure of myself,” Leland says today. “I feel like the Holy Spirit challenges me to step outside my box.”
Part of stepping outside his box is stepping up to a leadership role with our men’s alumni program. Leland was elected as president last fall. “I thought, ‘What qualifies me for this?’ but I knew that I cared—I cared about all the guys. And I realized that’s enough.”
The alumni program is an ongoing support system for our graduates. As Leland points out, it can be tough to leave Hope Ministries. “Honestly, a little depression can set in because suddenly you aren’t surrounded by people anymore. But the alumni program kept me connected.”
The men get together frequently—they have bowling nights and retreats—and they volunteer regularly, serving meals at our Hope Cafe and Door of Faith. They even have a bank account they contribute to, and when one member is struggling financially, they’re able to help out. “We’re a family that supports each other,” Leland says.
In addition to leading the alumni, Leland is now an ongoing Hope Ministries volunteer. He has a full-time job he enjoys and a church and friends he loves.
“I was so alone before. My life was nothing,” he says. “But now I’m just really grateful. I’m a quiet person by nature, but when I think about what this program has done for me, I want to shout it out.”