As many of you know, I am the Director of Wheeler Mission Ministries Men’s Residential Center here in downtown Indianapolis. I am in my 6th year of employment with Wheeler and in my 2nd year as the Director of the men’s programs. I have a front row seat to watch men’s lives change every day. Wheeler is on a mission to transform communities here in central Indiana by giving men, women, and children the help they need to have long-lasting success in their lives. Wheeler does this all without any government money. They are fully donor funded, and for this reason, I have decided to raise money for this organization by asking for your sponsorship in running in the 11th annual Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving morning. I am doing this with a group of friends from the gym where I train, “CrossFit Naptown.”
I am sure that my fundraising for Wheeler does not surprise many of you. My employment here at Wheeler is definitely part of the reason that I am running to raise money for the organization and am seeking your sponsorship; however, this organization means much more to me than merely being my employer. Some of you receiving this request have only known me for the past few years and may not know that before I worked here at Wheeler, I also lived here. I do not know where my life would be today without the programs and services Wheeler Mission offered me free of charge eight years ago. In many ways, I owe Wheeler Mission my life.
Before I became an addictions counselor, a pastor, a CrossFit coach, and a director of a men's shelter, I was something far from all of those things—I was a drug dealer, a drug addict, and a violent, angry, bitter, and lost person. I had every opportunity afforded to me growing up, but by age 22, I was at death’s door, on my way to prison for 3–5 years, and completely enslaved in the depths of heroin and cocaine addiction. I was suicidal and hopeless, and because of my decisions and lifestyle, I was completely alone. I had lived life in such a way that every resource, friend, and opportunity I once had was all gone. I was not even welcome in my family’s homes because I was a liar, a thief, and an all-around dangerous person. Despite being all these things and no one wanting to touch me with a 100-foot pole, Wheeler Mission accepted me. What you may not know is that Wheeler is much more than just a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter, although they do provide meals and food as some of their basic services. Wheeler’s goal for everyone who enters their doors is that they find lasting success in Christ, and they do so by investing in a person, often in a long-term way, as they did for me. As you can gather, I was a mess, and Wheeler Mission organized for me the opportunity I needed to meet God and get my life and family back. I successfully completed Wheeler's one-year drug and alcohol program called the Hebron Center, which was both the best and hardest thing I have ever done. It was there that I made the most significant decision in my life—the decision to fully submit my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, a decision that has completely changed me forever. I also dealt with wounds from my past, learned how to work hard, and discovered what it really means to be a man. As you can see, I really do owe this organization so much. I know my story may be shocking and may seem miraculous, but here at Wheeler, it is not unique. Every day I watch God change the unchangeable. We get to see: broken families reconciled; children get their fathers back; fathers and mothers get their sons back; and we get to see people who are enslaved to a situation, a cycle, and an addiction emerge from bondage into living fulfilling lives of freedom.
I know many of you are solicited for money by many organizations. Nonetheless, I am personally asking you to support Wheeler and to help people like me change their lives for good.
I was once a consumer and taker of resources, but Wheeler has taught me to contribute and give. I was a person who hurt many others, but now Wheeler has helped me develop a passion to improve the lives of the poor, needy, and addicted.
My goal is to raise $3,500 personally before Thanksgiving morning. I am doing this in the true spirit of the season, giving thanks to Wheeler Mission and my Lord Jesus Christ for granting many others and me hope when we were hopeless.
I ask that you please give what you can. You are supporting a great organization that accepts no government funding and one that greatly contributes to the city of Indianapolis and to greater central Indiana. Wheeler has many programs for men, women, and children of which many of you are not aware.
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