I was reading through some stories written by BHS clients from our Patterns women's program the last couple of days, and Michelle's story has been running through my mind every since. How about I let Michelle tell it?
My life was really bad before I came to Patterns, I was homeless and pregnant. I would eat at church and get food to take back so I would have food in the morning. I hung out at the park with the other homeless people and someone would always have something to smoke. I would do the same thing every day. I didn't want to do anything else but what I was doing. After I had my son, DCFS took him from me. I had to complete a drug program and change my life if I wanted to be a mother and get my son back.
Michelle came to us like so many others, broken and battered in mind, body, and spirit. With no medical insurance, and no financial means from family, publicly funded substance abuse treatment programs like BHS are the only option for tens of thousands of addicts seeking recovery in L.A. County every year. Last year alone BHS served more than 15,000 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters. Many have moved on to live full, healthy, productive lives.
Michelle's life has gotten rather full since her treatment at Patterns. Here's what's happened for her early on:
I asked the Social Worker to find me a program and she found Patterns, I moved in the very next day. Since I've been here I've been able to look at myself, I have gotten a job. It has been really good for me. I have never worked before; this job was the first job I ever had. I never knew how to save money but my counselor taught me how. She also taught me patience. I have learned so much by being here. I've learned that I need to stay involved with sober people and to go to 12 step meetings. I also have a sponsor. The most important thing is they are getting me ready for the outside world. Because I didn't know how to live without drugs and I had nothing. Now I have a job and I've been saving money for a place so by the time I graduate I will have my life back and a home to take my son to.
After Michelle graduated a couple of months later another mom knocked on Patterns' door, and the staff at BHS will started the process of helping another addict pull back the pieces of her life.
But our staff wouldn't have this opportunity without 45 years of support from community members dedicated to the process of recovery. Community members just like you – dedicated to helping us change lives.
Changing the World – One Client at a Time
Every year at BHS we have the privilege of changing the world – one client at a time. Clients just like Michelle. This past year alone over 15,000 clients, each with a story as heart-wrenching, and at the same time heart-warming, as Michelle's.
And each of the past few years it has become increasingly more difficult to serve the staggering number of people asking for our help. Since we started in 1973, BHS has been primarily dependent on dollars from various government sources in order to provide substance abuse treatment to folks in need throughout Southern California. The slow recovery from the economic downturn in the past few years, coupled with the current flux in funding streams, have brought us to a break even point financially that leaves little room for taking care of exigent needs outside of what our traditional funding sources allow us to provide. These are needs as simple as baby formula and diapers, some special dietary needs, and replacing worn out furniture in our patient's rooms. And there are, of course, other needs such as a work wardrobe for patients like Michelle, and new school clothes for some of the older children.
Your support will help us reduce our dependence on government funding so that, together, we can ensure that BHS programs and services can continue to help change the lives of people like Michelle and her son.
There are two ways to give to BHS. The first is a onetime donation of any amount you can give or you can become a monthly donor.
Do the Possible – CHANGE ONE
When you join CHANGE ONE, our monthly giving program, you help BHS change the world – one person at a time. You directly contribute to the success of our on-going operations, and solidify our program's collective ability to continue serving the most overlooked and under-served individuals and families affected by drug and alcohol abuse.
Here's how CHANGE One works. You simply authorize your bank or credit card company to give BHS the same amount of money once a month. The amount is entirely up to you because you are in control of your membership. You may increase or decrease the amount any time you wish. And you can cancel your membership at any time you want and for any reason you want, no questions asked.
Your support each month helps us ensure the continuity of services for clients like Michelle when an unstable economy or an otherwise-focused federal budget might force a reduction in the service we can provide. Your support provides the cushion needed for our patients and their families to thrive.
In hard economic times like today, your support helps maintain our current level and quality of service. In softer times, your support will allow us to build new programs to serve more people, with new and innovative programs in the future.
A Vision for the Future
The future for other addicts seeking recovery through BHS programs is also looking pretty good; though we can certainly use your help to continue to meet an ever increasing need. Any amount you may have the means to contribute would be significant. Your one-time, or monthly contributions will be brought together with other people's support to help bring about positive change in the life of the next person who knocks on BHS' door.
So please, renew your commitment right now. Help us open the door for the next Michelle who knocks. Help us change the world – one client at a time.