Christian was raised by his mother and grandmother on the southside of Raleigh. Now age 24, he loves his city, sports, and people.
Last January, Christian and his girlfriend decided to go their separate ways, which sparked a series of changes in his life. It led to a couple of months of sleeping on family members’ couches and heading down an unhealthy path.
“Just before it got too rough, my cousin told me about this program, and God led me here,” said Christian. “It saved my life.”
Christian wasn’t too fond of living at the Mission at first, and after two days, he left for a week. “But after I left, I looked around and thought, ‘I really left this good place to be back outside,’” he said. “God led me back to the Mission. I’ve been here ever since.”
The New Life Plan has sent Christian down a different path. “I’ve really healed, and I have my peace back,” he said. “I’ve healed from a lot of things I didn’t know I was going through – childhood trauma. I didn’t know I was bringing that into relationships. I didn’t know how much I was hurt and how much I needed to heal. I thank God for this place.”
Christian worked the front desk for his vocational training and enjoyed getting back into a work environment and interacting with people. Graduating from Jobs for Life was the next step, and he was ready to start a career. After a couple of months of job hunting and getting frustrated at being stagnant at the finish line, Christian was hired at Chick-fil-A at North Hills. He loves his job, the healthy environment, and his coworkers.
“I had the privilege of hiring Christian,” shared Rally de Leon, the Chick-fil-A location’s recently retired Operator. “As an employer, I wished I had discovered Raleigh Rescue Mission earlier in my Chick-fil-A career.”
“It is rare to discover a like-minded partner like the Raleigh Rescue Mission and John Luckett,” Rally continued. “John is respected in the community, but more importantly, he is raising the bar on the development of people. I am humbled to have been a small part of Christian’s journey, and in the coming months and years, I am excited to learn about Christian’s great achievements yet to come. It is stories like Christian’s that deliver hope for us all.”
Christian commitment to the New Life Plan has paid off. He bought a car earlier this year and moved into his own apartment in early December. He said he’s loving every minute of his new independence but knows the biggest challenge will be to stay focused. He’s succeeding by creating a routine and sticking to it. His mother and grandmother visited him at his apartment, and they’re happy to see how well he’s doing.
“I’m glad I’m in the right mindset, thanks to this place,” Christian said. “Now that I’m back out there, I’m in a good headspace, and I can get done some of the things I need to accomplish.”
Overall, the New Life Plan gave Christian the time and space to reflect and heal.
“I came here not just wanting to change my life around, but I didn’t realize all the other things that play a huge factor in my life,” he said. “I got to sit still and find some things about myself. I healed. That’s the most important thing to me because everything else falls from that – my relationships with people, and my relationship with God, first and foremost.”
Christian’s relationship with God has gotten even stronger, and he’s learned to “have faith, sit back, and let God work,” he said.
Next, Christian will continue to work and finish getting his high school diploma from Wake Tech. His long-term goal is to get a career going and have his own business. He’s learned he likes managing people and encouraging them through counseling, listening, and being a light.
“Being at Chick-fil-A has opened my horizons to other things I didn’t know I was good at,” said Christian. “I have options now.”