Celebrating Father and Son – Overcoming Obstacles and Creating New Life

May 20, 2020

A single dad, Virgil and his son (Virgil III, now 9) came to the Mission last fall, seeking a life away from substance abuse and violence. Virgil completed Jobs for Life just prior to COVID-19, and he’s now working at Healing Transitions, studying for a certification as a Peer Support Specialist and waiting for DMV to re-open so he can get his driver’s license. With the help of staff and mentors, he’s cleaned up his credit.

Charlie Hitlin, Recovery Engagement Coordinator at Healing Transitions, says proudly: “Virgil is quickly becoming one of our best staff and it has been noted by everyone that he works with. He jumps in and is fully engaged, finds out where he is needed and very skillfully assists with any task or responsibility that needs attending. He goes above and beyond. He is first to help clean, view orientation materials and complete tasks.  I highly recommend that Virgil seek a full-time position with Healing Transitions if/when one becomes available.”

Life wasn’t always this bright for Virgil.

Virgil grew up in a family where violence, alcohol, drugs and crime were the only consistencies he knew. He started drinking and smoking pot at a shockingly young age, eventually getting mired down in every illegal drug imaginable for the next 20 years. As a young adult with a child of his own, moving frequently and trying to endure some relationships with abusive women who had their own substance abuse issues, Virgil finally realized that life had to change.

“You’ll hear other people say this, but it was so true: I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I prayed for some way to get out of my situation so I could take care of my son.”

Virgil and his son came to the Mission’s front door after he found out they accepted men with children into the New Life Plan. He committed himself wholeheartedly to the program, has stayed clean and sober, graduated from Jobs for Life, and landed a part-time job at Healing Transitions. He participates in Celebrate Recovery and encourages other clients to stick with the New Life Plan. His son had some adjustments to being with other kids at the Mission in the beginning, but now Virgil III is getting along well with others, going to school online and playing video games when he has some down time.

What’s next for this hard-working client? According to Virgil, it’s a full time, higher tiered position at Healing Transitions, a degree in substance abuse counseling, reliable transportation and a safe, affordable place where he and his son can live on their own. A Habitat for Humanity home would be the ultimate goal for this small family.

“Thank God that the folks at the Mission gave me an opportunity and have been there to support me,” says Virgil. “I know I’m helping others at my new job and I can be a role model. Everybody thinks their bad situation is the worst, but it’s not. I’ve been in their shoes. No matter where you’ve come from, we all just need to be able to listen to someone else.”

At Raleigh Rescue Mission, we believe that every person has sacred value because he or she is created in the image of God and has unique God given gifts and abilities. Our New Life Plan is a 6-phase approach that begins with basic needs and moves through a series of programs that include counseling, training, transportation, employment and independent living.

To help support Virgil and the many other adults and children we serve, visit our donation page.