Journey to graduation


The Depot Family Crisis Center helps people restore their lives.

By Steve Cordova

The first Wednesday of each month, you can hear voices echoing in the chapel, “Oh no, you never let go, Lord, you never let go of me.” This is the sound of 35 adult participants and their families singing songs of praise for the new life they have found, thanks to The Salvation Army Depot Family Crisis Center, a ministry of the Yuba-Sutter Corps in Marysville, Calif., where they met a Friend who knows how to change lives.

The Depot Family Crisis Center is a homeless shelter with a state certified substance abuse component. It includes rooms for homeless families, and for single women and single men with children. Some of these people are leaving jails or prison and mandated to a program. Others come in with an open Child Protective Services (CPS) case and gain the opportunity to reunify with their children while staying at The Depot.

The initial phase of the yearlong program takes place at The Depot facility, a 100-year-old train station. For six months, participants take part in an intensive program and undergo weekly drug tests. Most choose to attend Salvation Army church services and Bible studies regularly during their stay. Those who make a personal connection with Christ have a better chance of remaining clean and sober in the future.

Before graduation from the first phase of the program, participants take a final exam. An impressive 99.9 percent pass with a grade of 75 percent or better.

Graduates must also complete a PowerPoint presentation, which they present to an audience of their peers and family members, and oftentimes to judges, probation officers and CPS workers. In their presentation, they tell where they came from, what brought them to The Depot, what they have accomplished in the six months of the program and what their future plans are. At that time they receive a six-month certificate of completion.

The real test comes when these families move back into the community—back to the reality of what they call “life on life’s terms.” Participants are encouraged to sign up for The Depot’s Family Self Sufficiency program and attend relapse prevention classes during this time of transition.

But for now, they celebrate—the sounds of humble hearts worshipping the One who restored their lives. And we witness as they thank God for their journey to graduation.

Steve Cordova is a counselor at The Depot.

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