Jack came back home on his 18th birthday to find all of his belongings placed in the front yard of the group home. He had settled in this group home after spending most of his life in the foster care system, where, from a very early age, he experienced deep loss and trauma at the hands of his foster family.

When he aged out of the group home program, he found himself with no supportive relationships, nowhere to go, and a deep sense of worthlessness and despair. This led to fifteen years of mostly living on our Denver streets.

“Before Providence Network,” Jack recalls, “I was stuck and too prideful to ask for help. I thought I was a loser and was never going anywhere. All I knew was the streets, and I stayed in a rut with my addiction to drugs and alcohol. I lived in constant survival mode and could not keep a job. I felt dirty and was ashamed of what I had become, but I just accepted that’s what my life was going to be because that is what I felt I deserved. I made a lot of terrible choices and got to a place where I thought the world would be better without me in it.” 

All of this began to change on another birthday, but this time it was by being invited into a place of belonging. 

Jack moved into our recovery program a day before his birthday as his first stop after spending seven months in jail. While incarcerated, he began his journey toward sobriety and knew he needed real change upon his release. That’s when he was referred to Providence Network’s Silver Lining House (SLH)—one of our six transformational housing communities. Silver Lining House is geared toward young men, ages 18-25, who are seeking recovery and healing from addiction and homelessness.

Jack remembers the big impact a small question had on him during this first conversation with Providence Network staff:

“What do you need?”

After years of feeling isolated and living in hopelessness, this was one of the first times he had been asked this question.

Jack’s recovery story began to change.

His initial answers to this question were things like a bed, an ID card, and a sober and safe environment to come home to everyday—and thankfully, he was able to receive those things. But now, six months as a resident at Silver Lining House, he also says that this place has been more than a transitional housing location: his time here is truly transforming every aspect of life.

We often say that Providence Network exists to see lives healed from the inside out by creating opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, healthy relationships, and restorative beliefs. When asked how these things have changed for him in his time with us, Jack replied:

“It’s so hard to see the light when you can’t get over the obstacles keeping you in the dark . . . this place has been a community of men who encourage me to stay motivated and we help keep one another accountable to reach our goals. I have responsibilities here and the things we are learning together will be so useful after this program. I feel like a new world of opportunity has been opened for me and I see everything from a new perspective. I actually have purpose, meaning, and know my part in giving back to the world in ways I never thought of myself being able to do.” 

Jack has now been sober for over a year. Not only does he have a great job, but because of his hard work ethic he has already been promoted twice in the few short months he has worked there. We were sitting in the living room of Silver Lining House sharing our stories with one another when his phone rang. His face lit up as he got news of yet another successful sale. “I am proud of myself and how this job helps people and makes this neighborhood a better place.” 

Recently Jack took the next step toward his goal of owning his own business and filed for an LLC. He hopes to build a business with core principles based on treating people the way he has been treated. He is even attending local city council meetings, listening and using his voice to advocate for our unhoused neighbors. “I want people to know that the things Providence Network is doing really works. I wish I would have had a place like this years ago.” 

We believe the next 50 years of Jack’s life will be radically different because he is getting the support he needs to lead himself into a better story. Jack’s recovery story is no longer one of just sobriety, but flourishing.

Would you help us raise $50,000 to change the next 50 years of young men’s lives? 

To make Jack’s story possible for him and a dozen other young menwe need to raise $50,000 by May 31, 2024.

Would you help us get to the rest of our $50K goal so we can continue to empower people like Jack to reach their goals? Please donate today.

With gratitude,

Derek Sherfey
Development Team