Impact Stories

Life-changing stories of hope, healing and wholeness


I came home from prison in 2015; I was clean and sober by then but without any support from
my family, who had stepped back–they wanted to wait and see If my repentance was true and
submissive. I ended up in a shelter run by Catholic Charities. The director of the program, Mr.
Yatze, suggested I might like to go on a retreat. At first, I told him no. But a couple of days later,
he put the flyer for the ISP retreat in the common room… I went to his office and asked him if I
could change my mind. That was the best decision I could have made. When the ISP men
came to pick us up at the shelter, they were so welcoming and inviting, it was like meeting an
old friend. Conversations were easy; many of them had also experienced some kind of
addiction, so their empathy was really meaningful.

I was surprised – in a good way – that on retreat, we weren’t being preached to. I could talk
about whatever was on my heart and have it be received with love. I needed that. I needed to
be able to talk about my experiences in a way that no one was judging: they just heard it,
received it, and walked along with me.

I stayed connected with ISP while I was at the shelter, and then the team asked me to consider
being a witness and becoming a leader for ISP Washington DC. I owe so much of that to the
dedication and love my fellow team members poured into me. Their support for me is authentic
in every way.

Before coming on retreat, I had not prayed in such a long time. I grew up with God because of
my mother. She taught all of us the Bible verses and we always went to church. But when the
streets called me when I was about 14, all that ceased. I ignored those teachings. I didn’t
forget, I just didn’t do. I didn’t know whether God would recognize my voice when I did begin to
pray again. But he has heard me, and as my brother often says, “God has shown me great
favor”. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 139: Wherever I was in my travels, God was there. I
may not have known that then, but I inexplicably know God hears me when I pray.

You can read more about our alumni participants who have experienced life-changing hope, healing, and wholeness, in our book, Stories of Hope.