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Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Graduates Celebrate Recovery

Upon completion of the facility's 12-month program, graduates are back on their feet, ready to face the future.

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission's Class of 2009 are, front row from left, Marie A., Sherry M., Sharon H., Cindy R., Lacy M. and Leslie B. Back row from left are Jennifer A., Andrew S., Kevin H., Donnie W., Anthony T., Marlin G. and Jake H.
The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission’s Class of 2009 are, front row from left, Marie A., Sherry M., Sharon H., Cindy R., Lacy M. and Leslie B. Back row from left are Jennifer A., Andrew S., Kevin H., Donnie W., Anthony T., Marlin G. and Jake H. (Santa Barbara Rescue Mission photo)

The Santa Barbara Rescue Mission honored the accomplishments of 13 courageous men and women who graduated from the mission’s 12-month residential drug and alcohol treatment program. The Saturday ceremony was held at Santa Barbara Community Church, 1002 Cieneguitas Road, with more than 250 in attendance.

Graduate Anthony T. shared his story of recovery.

“Finding myself on the streets with no hope was the most fearful time in my life,” he said. “I lost my son due to drugs and alcohol. I have not seen him since he was 2; he is now 12. Now, I know that change was the answer.

“Since I am clean and sober, I may have a chance to see him again.”

All of the graduates are currently employed, a prerequisite for completion of the program, with the exception of one woman who is planning to relocate.

Rolf Geyling, president of the nonprofit Santa Barbara Rescue Mission, addressed the crowd, saying, “I am so proud of the team I get to be a part of, and the way it’s used by God to change lives. We are celebrating 13 heroes who came into recovery a year ago — from the streets, prison and who knows where else — and are now sitting before us radically transformed. They are clean, sober, surrounded by friends, reconciled with family and looking toward the future.”

The graduating class was honored with diplomas, certificates of recognition from Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, and Bibles from the Santa Barbara Community Church.

Established in 1965, the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission is a 501(c)(3) organization that brings physical, emotional, educational and spiritual resources to individuals and families in need. It is the only organization between Oxnard and Santa Maria that provides hot meals and accommodations to homeless guests 365 days of the year. It operates the longest and largest drug and alcohol treatment program on the Central Coast.

The mission provides12-month residential recovery for both men and women, outpatient treatment, family support, relapse prevention, men’s sober living, academic instruction and job skills training. Its residential drug and alcohol program has won regional and national recognition for its extraordinary effectiveness.

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