Ultimately, the work of Damascus Way is all about our resident’s and the transformation we hope to see in them during their time in our program. In addition to the success that we desire for the men here at Damascus, comes their continued progress and stability once they have moved back into the community. The provision of housing, community connection and potential career pathways are essential in communal reintegration and reducing recidivism.
We find that these elements are all present in the testimony of a fresh graduate of Damascus Way Golden Valley, Carl. As someone who struggled with recidivism for a number of years, Carl encountered difficulty within the correctional system, especially due in part to having to be confined from others. One can imagine the difficulty of solitude for anyone, but even more so for someone as social and friendly as Carl. Those who know Carl, know that he is someone who enjoys a good conversation and dialogue.
While in prison, Carl had a profound encounter with God, which began to shift many aspects of his life. When he exited prison, he was able to find a Christian organization which serves men coming out of prison, at our very own Damascus Way. For the first time, Carl encountered a correctional facility that felt like home. Carl says that he never would’ve considered such a place before he met God. And to call a treatment facility or halfway house “home,” would never have entered his mind either. But home Damascus Way would become during the months Carl stayed here.
Within a week of entering Damascus, Carl successfully landed a job through a temp agency called Aerotek. This was especially meaningful and symbolic to Carl, because one of his closest friends, named Adam, had worked with Aerotek until he was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. Adam had assisted Carl in the past, providing him with job opportunities, however Carl was unsuccessful in maintaining these employments. This time things played out differently for Carl. Motivated to honor the legacy of his friend Adam, Carl landed a position with a framing company which worked on multi-million dollar homes. Since beginning his job through Aerotek with, Carl was named employee of the month for May.
Carl is a man with many handy skills and so this job has been a great fit for him! He’s seen steady increases in his pay over the course of only a few months. During this space of time he has also become a foreman. He’s had the chance to share his successes in the workplace with many different organizations in the Twin Cities area. Whether it be through sharing his testimony on the Twin Cities radio show, “Rise Up,” or being highlighted by his company as a stellar worker, Carl’s work ethic, character and knowledge has been noticed by many.
On a spiritual and faith level, Carl has also found connection and growth. He has been sober for 16 months! He attends church every Sunday and is very involved in the ChainBreakers ministry at Oak Grove Church in Golden Valley, which is just a few blocks from Damascus Way. Carl has told staff at Damascus Way Golden Valley that they have profoundly impacted him in the short span of time he has been here. Whether through day-to-day conversations, mentoring or encouragement, a sense of fellowship has been created between staff and Carl.
Carl has a network of community connections that will set him up for success and continued transformation as he moves on from Damascus. In addition to the relationships mentioned earlier, Carl will be involved with Brookdale Covenant Church in Brooklyn Center. Carl has offered to help build the church basement, which will be converted into dorms for men working towards consistent sobriety. Carl is branching out to connect with others in the Twin Cities in order to build holistic relationships that will edify him mentally and spiritually. Lastly, Carl shared a recent answer to prayers in that he was approved to get a service animal, which will be a true joy for him.
Congratulations Carl on completing your time here at Damascus Way! We are grateful for God’s presence in your life and look forward to hearing many more stories about where the Lord takes you!