“The Mission’s given me my life back!”

Despite a previous addiction to heroin, Gino was doing well. “I had a job and a truck and a place to live. Then, I got laid off, lost my place and my truck was repossessed. After that, I just didn’t care anymore and started getting high again.”

But ultimately, addiction was a road Gino “didn’t want to go down again.” So, he looked for help. Unfortunately, he had no family in the area, and he hadn’t been in touch with his sister for nearly 40 years.

So he began calling recovery programs here in the Valley. The first one didn’t have a place for him, so he called Hope of the Valley and we got him in right away.

Once he was settled in our John E. White House of Hope, Gino began our nine-month recovery program. There was structure, which Gino needed, along with the spiritual guidance, life skills training and other resources necessary to rebuild a life of dignity, purpose and hope!

The program didn’t just give Gino a roof over his head and food to eat. It helped him grow spiritually and emotionally. “I’d done a lot of bad things,” Gino says. “But they [the staff here at the Mission] aren’t against you for where you’ve been or what you’ve done. They take you in with open arms!”

And Gino learned to do the same, because one of his responsibilities at the Mission was helping others who were homeless. “They’d come in for a shower and we’d give them clean clothing including underwear and socks. Just showing them that someone cares can make their day!”

After graduation, Gino moved on to The Bridge, our transitional housing program that provides support while men get jobs and get back on their feet. He eventually became Assistant Manager at The Bridge, and this winter, Gino worked in our Cold Weather Shelter. He’s doing what he encourages others to do: Stay connected and keep working

To read the rest of the issue of Sharing Hope, click here.

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