March 2017 Around Town 5

Rescue Mission Ministries

Lee Clark, CEO of Rescue Mission Ministries shared the following story of how real people experiencing real life transformations at the Rescue Mission in our Valley makes a difference. A letter from the heart…

“Karley Wasn’t Supposed To Make It”

“When I was pregnant, the doctor told me her brain was developing outside her skull and she wouldn’t survive. Thank God he was wrong. She did have some fluid on the brain, but it disintegrated by the time she was born. There were still problems, though. The first half of her life was all about medical appointments—everything from hormone testing to speech therapy. She was constantly being poked and stuck, and it caused her to become very shy. That’s one of the hardest things when they are so little—you have to hurt them to help them get better. She wasn’t crawling, she wasn’t talking, she wasn’t hitting any of the milestones and she was just so tiny. When she was a year old, she was hospitalized for failure to thrive and diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. She gets a daily shot for that and will have to until she reaches puberty. At 5 years old, she’s still much smaller than other kids, but she doesn’t let that stop her.

Karley’s dad and I split up when she was 2, and soon after that, I developed a drug habit. I think I was trying to cope with all the stress, and at the same time was suffering from PTSD and depression from my own traumatic childhood. I had a wake-up call last fall that really scared me, so I went to rehab and I’ve now been clean for a year. I know I damaged my relationship with Karley and her big sister. I had no job, and I had spent all our money and had nothing to pay the rent. The kids felt very insecure.

We came to the Rescue Mission last June, and it has changed everything for us. The staff here truly love people and know how to help. My whole perspective has changed. We’re in a homeless shelter, but I feel like we have it all and I can walk with my head held high. That’s what I want my girls to see. I’ve gotten a job, and I’ve been using the Mission’s savings plan to pay off my debts and save up so we can soon move into our own apartment. Being here in a safe and structured place has been so good for all three of us.

As for my shy little Karley, she charms everyone she meets and has turned into quite the ham, all because she has been given a place to blossom. Things are better than we ever could have imagined.”

–Jessica, Karley’s mom

If you had no idea how the Rescue Mission offers: shelter, food, medical care and hope, Lee Clark invites you to visit any Monday at noon for a tour. Like Karley’s story, so many others are part of the daily fabric of life at the Rescue Mission.

Visit, 402 4th Street SE, Roanoke.