Transforming Lives in Modesto, CA

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The following story was contributed by The Salvation Army, Modesto Red Shield Center of Modesto, CA.

The Salvation Army, Modesto Red Shield has been offering services to youth and their families in the community of South Modesto since 1968.  Historically, the center has offered a variety of programs that service some of the poorest families in the city of Modesto. Currently, the center services approximately 100+ youth per day.  It provides a safe haven for youth to come and feel as if they have a place in which they belong.  Many of the youth and families call it their “Disneyland”.   Youth are made to feel welcome, loved and encouraged to live up to their full potential at the Red Shield.  Sometimes we see change, and sometimes we even see parents transformed as a result of their children.

One example of a life touched and transformed is that of a young girl, who came into the center over 10 years ago.  Her name is Destiny.

At the time Destiny was only 7 years old, living with her Grandmother and facing an extreme form of poverty due to forces beyond her control.  Her mother was a substance abuser and there was little mention of her father in the picture.  Alone and in need of a bath and proper shelter, she walked into the Red Shield seeking food.  The Program Director, Terry Humphres went out of her way to provide Destiny with a plate of food and a listening ear.  Upon hearing the story of this young girl’s dire situation of homelessness, Terry went out of her way to intervene by getting permission to get the little girl cleaned up, fed and properly clothed.  Destiny came back several days later wanting food for both herself and her Grandmother, as they both were living in a trailer home with no electricity or running water.  Terry was able to secure food for the entire family as well as other services the family needed.

Terry was eventually able to obtain temporary custody of Destiny for a short period of time.  During this time, she was taught some invaluable skills- including how to read her Bible and the importance of prayer.  Daily diligent prayer for her mother eventually paid off, as her mom eventually went through a detoxification/rehabilitation program.   Shortly after, Destiny’s mom made another pivotal decision that would change the course of her and her daughter’s life.  She made a decision to fight for their future.  Packing all of their belongings, she, her mother and her daughter decided to move out of state to try and start over in a different environment with better influences.  Eventually the mother was able to go to college, earn her degree and is now on the road to helping other families by becoming a Social Worker.

Last week, Destiny placed a call to Terry, expressing her thanks and appreciation for all Terry had done for her over 10 years ago.  Destiny was preparing for her high school prom in high spirits, grateful to God for placing someone in her life at a time when she needed help the most.

The Salvation Army, Modesto Red Shield has youth that come in and out of the center on a daily basis who are also dealing with situations of neglect and poverty.  Some of these kids have been through the foster care system and are hoping for things to change in their families.  Sometimes reaching out to the youth has a way of eventually bringing in the parents who have decided they want to change for their children.  We are here to make a difference in whatever way possible.