The New Life Program helped Troy get his license and a car, work through his bankruptcy, get orthodontic work and glasses, and enroll at Front Range Community College studying welding and metal fabrication. "I never thought I'd be able to afford college," he says.
Homeless and on the run from police, Troy found himself at the end of his rope. He was tired of being strung out, living on the street and running from his past. So finally, he turned himself in.
It started when he experimented with drugs in high school. "My mom did the best she could as a single mom with four kids." But Troy was easily influenced by his friends, who encouraged him to take and sell drugs, party and get into trouble. Despite his behavior, he was close to his mother, but before he was 18, he had been in trouble for possession of drugs nearly 20 times.
After high school, he stopped selling marijuana and went to culinary school. Eventually, he worked as a cook in his hometown, Central City. But his clean streak didn't last long. Three short years later, co-workers convinced him to start using cocaine, and he sank deeper into a deadly addiction.
The promise of a longer-lasting and cheaper high persuaded him to start using methamphetamines, but the promise was short lived. "Eventually, you build up a tolerance, and it's just as hard, if not harder, to get off meth," he explains. To fund his new addiction, Troy began to manufacture meth as well.
The drug addicts and dealers he hung out with frequently robbed people to fund their habits. Soon, the trouble hit close to home, and he helped steal money from his grandfather's bank account.
Troy was on a downward spiral into a life of crime and pain for him and the people he cared about. He was ashamed because of the pain he caused his family, and his relationship with them was all but destroyed. He decided he was done. Although facing 25 years to life in prison terrified him, he knew turning himself in was the right thing to do.
In Jefferson County Jail, Troy discovered something he had been missing: a relationship with God. He prayed and asked Jesus to forgive him for the things he'd done, the people he'd hurt and the rebellious life he'd led. He asked Jesus to change him, and He did.
After waiting 10 months for his sentencing, his family and the court agreed that he needed education and a long term program. He wanted to get into Denver Rescue Mission's New Life Program, but he knew he wouldn't last long in the city because the temptation to find drugs would be too great.
When he learned about Harvest Farm, he knew that was where he needed to be.
At the Farm, Troy learned new life and relationship skills. Rather than working in the kitchen, he was assigned to work at Mom's Closet, helping give items and supplies to the needy. He was challenged to interact with people regularly. The community and opportunities in the program stood in stark contrast to the pain he caused his friends and family. "It felt good to help people in need. It was humbling," he says.
The New Life Program also helped him get his license and a car, work through his bankruptcy, get orthodontic work and glasses, and enroll at Front Range Community College studying welding and metal fabrication. "I never thought I'd be able to afford college," he says. He also took a refresher course on his culinary training and was able to get a job at a local restaurant in Fort Collins.
But with all his success, Troy says the biggest struggle was learning to forgive himself. "I had to choose to believe that the old me was dead and the new me had begun," he says confidently. The counseling and education helped him understand that because God had forgiven him, he didn't have to hold on to the shame he felt. He could have healthy relationships and rebuild his relationship with his family.
When he graduated the program, his parents came to celebrate with him. "It was great to see them at my graduation," he says. "My mom said to me, 'I have my son back.'"
Today, Troy continues to work at a restaurant in Fort Collins and is finishing his education. Between work, church commitments, volunteering, and school, he stays busy. "I'm taking 12 full credits, working full time and volunteering at the Farm. I'm busy seven days a week, but you know what they say about idle hands," he says laughing. Recently, he completed a Safe Serve certification course and is excited about an upcoming promotion because of the training. "I can't say thank you enough," he says. "The Mission and the people who support it saved my life."
And we can't say thank you enough to supporters like you for helping us give Troy a second chance. Because of your faithful support, men like Troy are able to find a safe place to learn how to establish healthy relationships, overcome addiction and better manage their lives. More than that, it's a safe place for them to discover God's forgiveness for their pasts and find a new beginning. And it's all thanks to partners like you.
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Troy's story was featured in the June 2015 issue of Changing Lives titled "New Beginnings."
Also in this issue:
- Letter from the CEO
- Rockies Cleanup
- Summer of Hope
- FREE Brochure: 6 Things You Need to Build Your Financial House