The mission of Door of Hope is to equip homeless families and children to rebuild their lives. While this statement is short and simple, the process of rebuilding is hardly short or simple. The process towards reaching a life rebuilt, requires an immeasurable amount of strength and commitment. One of Door of Hope’s graduates, Krista, understands just how much strength and commitment it takes to truly rebuild one’s life.

I remember the first day I met Krista. She came by my office on a hot summer afternoon, after walking all around Pasadena in search of resources and connections that could regain stability for her family. Even in the heat, without a car and a heavy backpack in tow, Krista was positive, energetic and persistent. She was transitioning out of a drug and alcohol recovery program and was ready to regain custody of her two teenage sons.

Soon after our first encounter, Krista moved into Door of Hope along with her oldest son, Tristan. Together and individually, Krista and Tristan were incredibly positive, helpful and hardworking. Tristan was and stellar student with ambitions of joining the military. In spite of the struggles they endured as a family, Tristan was one of the most respectful, kind and diligent young men I have ever met. Not only was he helpful around the Door of Hope house, but he was constantly supportive and respectful of his mom and never neglected to show her how much he loves her. Krista hit the ground running when she came to Door of Hope. She was working, parenting well, and actively engaging in her recovery.

However, despite the progress that Krista and Tristan were making, there was something missing. Krista’s youngest son, Nicholas had yet to return to her custody. He wanted to stay with his foster family and did not realize that the time clock was running out on Krista’s eligibility to regain permanent custody of him. Krista remained prayerful and hopeful that Nick would come home soon. Nick came to visit Door of Hope and we embraced him as family, hoping that each visit, would bring him closer to wanting to be home with his mom and brother. The day came for the final court hearing to determine if Nick would be reunited with his family. I sat in the waiting room with Krista for hours until her case was finally called in. Again, Krista was doing everything she could to remain positive, but it was clear that worry and heartbreak was beginning to set in. All of Door of Hope staff was prayerful on this day, believing that Krista’s transformation and commitment to change would not go unnoticed. The proceedings began and we sat on edge as we awaited the final decision. After reviewing the case and receiving a few statements it was determined that Nick would be reunited with his family! Krista embraced her son with such joy and excitement. We all got in the car and headed home to Door of Hope.

A few months later, Krista obtained permanent housing in Pasadena. Her graduation celebration was joyous and full of accomplishment. After walking along side Krista over the course of her time at Door of Hope, I held such deep admiration for her drive and motivation towards bettering her life and the lives of her boys. Krista is a person who loves wholeheartedly, I believe it was this wholehearted love that acted as the force behind her efforts towards rebuilding her life.

Last month, Krista reached a milestone in her journey of recovery, as she celebrated her third year of sobriety. In the past Krista struggled to make it past two consecutive years of sobriety. This year she was finally able to break through that barrier and complete three years. Recovery is defined as the process of regaining possession or control of something lost or stolen. For many years, substance abuse caused Krista to lose control of what belongs to her. Her mind, her body and her family were robbed of peace, health and stability. However, with great strength and determination, Krista fought back and regained control of her life. Today, Krista serves as a mentor for other men and women who are beginning their road to recovery. She has made great strides in working the 12 step program and is now a sponsor within the AA/NA community.

Krista, Tristan and Nick have taken every step towards rebuilding their lives. She has exhibited the strength and sacrifice it takes to successfully recover, she has seen her family, health and soul restored, and today she is living a life that has been beautifully and wonderfully rebuilt.