This year, hundreds of people have benefitted from the hope offered at The Community Outreach. Each story is unique and leads to self-sufficiency. Here is David’s story of rising up from “rock bottom” with the Genesis Mentoring Program and his mentor Jim.
Laughing together, Jim and David talk like old friends who have been swapping stories for years, even though they’ve only known each other for a few months. They have shared trips to baseball games, many cups of coffee, and one ill-fated trip to the South Dakota Battleship Memorial for a military band concert. “I’m military so I was excited,” says Jim. After sitting in the July heat and sweating through a few songs, they call it quits. “Not one of our smarter moves,” laughs David.
In many ways, it feels like their relationship has lasted for years because of the profound impact they have had in each other’s lives. Jim is David’s mentor in the Genesis Mentoring Program at The Community Outreach.
“When I came to The Community Outreach, I was looking for an apartment, staying in shelters, couch surfing. I was homeless.” David had just started a new job while also working his way through DUI court. He didn’t really know why he was coming here, admitting “I am on rock bottom, so anything can help.” The Community Outreach paired Jim and David together in the Genesis Mentoring Program.
Genesis Mentoring is an 18-week long program that matches community volunteers with individuals like David who are looking for accountability and a new start. “I’m surprised that some old guy like me connects so well with David!” Jim joked about their age difference, but over the past few months, they grew into fast friends. “I’ve been there. I know about living beyond your means. I know about alcohol. That probably helps me.”
Their first few months working together brought a lot of change to David’s life. “Jim pointed me in the right direction. Before The Community Outreach, I was living paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have to do that now. My credit is being rebuilt.” With help from Jim and The Community Outreach, David has moved into an apartment and has his eye on the future. In his 30’s, David is even looking to start school to become a diesel mechanic, never thinking he would have the funds or the time.
Jim sees success in David’s future as well. “He’s not homeless, he’s got money in the bank, but know that this is all David. I can’t make him do anything. The success of this is on David. He’s here because he wanted to be here.”
“This last year has been hard work. It’s like being dropped into the middle of the ocean and waves are constantly hitting you from all around,” David remembers. “Jim has helped me out of this with advice and just by being there. Jim kept me accountable with what needed to get done.”
Even after graduating from Genesis, Jim and David still remain in each other’s lives. “Dave’s met my wife. We’ve spent time just having coffee.” Through this friendship, the lives of both of these men are forever changed. David has gone through dramatic change. With Jim’s help, he has gone from homeless to hope-filled. He has a new start and, now, a lifelong friend to trust.
David is just one of over 300 people who were in the Genesis Mentoring Program. Your gift of support to The Community Outreach will allow us to provide a system of support for many families working toward self-sufficiency.