Kelsey’s Story

Kelsey was only a teenager when her family got the tragic news that would change their lives forever: Her father had terminal lung cancer. It had already spread to his brain, and he was given a prognosis of six months.

He lived for another six months and nine days. After that, Kelsey’s life simply fell apart.

She’d been through hard times previously. Her parents’ divorce when she was 13 hit her hard, and peers introduced her to marijuana. But things got much worse after her dad’s death. “That’s when I started living on the streets, doing all kinds of bad stuff.”
From drugs to working at bars while underage to living in her car, she describes those years as “dark times.”

“I really just wanted to be loved or accepted or known. It was really lonely, really crazy,” she remembers. Though she had periods of stability, she inevitably found herself letting the wrong influences into her life.

Eventually, she wound up in an abusive relationship and, trapped by her addiction, she lost custody of her two children. “I just cried out to God. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”

Kelsey was so unwell at that point that she doesn’t remember how she heard about Hope Ministries. “It’s kind of a blur,” she recalls of her first few days at our Hope Center for Women and Children. “But I just remember being grateful to be somewhere safe and away from the abuse and drug use. I felt so empty inside, but also safe on this property . . . really safe.”

That sense of safety made it possible for Kelsey to begin a journey of healing. She’s discovered the freedom that comes from sobriety, the personal growth that comes through accountability, and the sense of community and support that comes from being surrounded by caring staff and fellow life recovery residents.

And she’s found strength in knowing she’s loved by God. “I live in faith now. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for God. He’s determined my steps.”

Six months after she came to Hope Ministries, Kelsey’s children—two-year-old Thaddeus and one-year-old Helen—were returned to her custody. They now live with her full-time at Hope Center, where they’ll celebrate this Christmas together.

“I’m just so happy to have them back. Thaddeus is wild. He’s stronger than he knows. Helen is just the cutest little girl you’ll ever see. I have a good relationship with them now,” Kelsey says. “I love cooking for them and taking them on walks.”

“I’m grateful that the staff here takes the time to work with both me and my kids,” she adds. “I like the transformation I see in myself. The love is real here.”

Kelsey is active in church and is participating in a Bible study with several other life recovery residents. She’s thankful for the encouragement of her aunt and her grandma, and knows she’ll have a support system when she starts her next chapter of life.

Speaking of which, Kelsey recently completed a six-week program called Change Course, which is designed to help individuals build career skills, and she’s mulling over what employment path is right for her. She knows that whatever comes next, she wants to help people.

And to all those who have helped her, she has a message of gratitude: “Thank you for your generosity and for helping me through some of the hardest times. Thank you for bringing me and my kids back to a healthy lifestyle and to a relationship with God.”