Dawn remembers sitting inside the bus station in Denver. It was well past midnight, and she had already been there for nearly 24 hours, with only about five hours of sleep.

Exhausted and hungry, Dawn clung to a white trash bag hastily stuffed with all her belongings—a few letters from her son, a set of clothes and a jacket.

That was all she had left after spending the last 10 years in prison.

A recent article in Christianity Today about the role of the church in prison ministry and post-incarceration life made the point that “One of the hardest days of incarceration may be the day it ends.”* After so much time in prison, many former inmates begin their freedom at a bus station with no money, no friends, no family, and no clear path to recovery.

For Dawn, hope seemed to linger in the promise of a homeless services center in Fort Collins, so when her bus finally arrived that morning, she climbed on board, eager for a fresh start. But when she arrived at 4:30 in the morning, she was told the center couldn’t help her because of her felony. Instead, they pointed her to Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

“When I got to the Mission, they said, ‘Come on in! Have something to eat,’” she says with a big smile. “I was so hungry. Then they said they had a bed for me, and I was shocked.”

The Re-Entry Program at Fort Collins Rescue Mission is designed to help people just like Dawn.

At the Mission, men and women recently released from prison can find a safe place to sleep, warm meals and a transitional program designed to help them rebuild a life after so many years behind bars.

For Dawn, the Mission provides more than just a roof over her head at night and a warm meal. It provides an encouraging community and the resources she needs to move forward, including an opportunity to earn her GED, connections with job placement services and spiritual guidance through Bible studies and mentoring. “I’m grateful the Mission is here to help me better myself,” she says. “They’re letting God work his way in my life, and the staff here can see the incredible change that it’s had in me. I’m so thankful for this opportunity.”

Together with supporters like you, we provide a road map to recovery through our emergency services and transitional programs. Thank you for helping people like Dawn by supporting the important work of Fort Collins Rescue Mission. Your continued support is what makes these services possible for people in need in our community.

CLN October 2016

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Dawns’s story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Changing Lives titled “A Brand New Dawn”

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • 14th Annual Harvest Farm Festival

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