Hope for Tomorrow

Hope for Tomorrow

With a past laced in addiction, heartache, and brokenness, Sandy’s life now speaks promise and hope.

Sandy graduated from Trevecca University with a degree in Management and Human Relations in 2015—a feat she never imagined she would accomplish. But her story is more than her earning her degree. It’s a story of triumph, overcoming, restoration, and redemption.

“I grew up in a good home,” said Sandy. “We went to church, but I became rebellious in my teen years. I ran away several times with my boyfriend, who I later married. The beatings started after our son Josh was born.”

Sandy drank to numb the pain. Five years later and eight months pregnant with her daughter Gina—after one too many beatings, she decided enough was enough and left her husband. While she managed to stay sober during both pregnancies, the challenges of being a single mom of two kids while working two jobs was more than she could handle. Drinking soon became a daily habit.

“I remarried four years later, but he too was abusive,” recalls Sandy. “In the midst of this, I lost my father and nine months later my mom developed cancer. I was devastated. It was a dark time in my life and I started using cocaine and crystal meth.”

Each time life threw Sandy a curve; she turned to drugs and alcohol. She divorced, moved to a new city, and changed jobs. “I started working in a bar where I was first introduced to crack cocaine. It’s a drug of pure evil and took me lower than I could have ever imagined. It almost killed me.”

Sandy will never forget the day her brother told her, ‘I love you, but I have to love you from a distance. Don’t call me again.’ She was heartbroken. “He told my family that if they wanted to kill me, to keep giving me money, but that he was done.”

A year later, after receiving the worst beating of her life, Sandy vividly recalls seeing her granddaughter right after it happened. “She touched my face and said, ‘Maw maw, what’s a matter with your eye?’” It was at this moment, Sandy knew she’d hit rock bottom.

“I walked into the house and looked in the mirror—I had no idea who I was. I walked out with plans of walking in front of a truck, but God’s divine hand pushed me out of the way. It shook me to the core and I knew God was trying to tell me something.”

She called a friend for help, who decided to reach out to Sandy’s brother, despite what he’d said before. Two days later, they were on their way to Nashville. “I thought my brother and his wife were going to stay the night with me. But he handed me $50 and said it was up to me—I could either use the money for drugs or I could use it to pay for a cab to Nashville Rescue Mission the next day.”

Sandy remembers crying all night long, filled with fear and doubt. Her daughter Gina had been through the Mission’s Life Recovery Program a few years earlier and was doing well. Sandy wondered if she might find help there as well. She flushed the dope she had and caught a cab early the next morning.

“My life was forever changed when I walked through the door’s of Nashville Rescue Mission. I gave my life back to Christ and learned who I was in Him. I started building a solid foundation. The Mission’s program helped me see I was a precious child of God. I learned I was valued, treasured, and worth it. I had no idea my road to recovery would lead to so many blessings.”

While in the program, Sandy received an invitation from Morris Stout, a Mission volunteer, to attend Trevecca Community Church (TCC) with he and his wife. Sandy loved it. After graduating from the program, she made TCC her home church and joined a Sunday school class. This is where Sandy chose to put down roots after graduating from the Mission’s program.

By 2013, with God at the center of her life, Sandy was decided it was time to follow her dream of earning her bachelor’s degree. With the help of a friend, she enrolled in the MHR adult studies program at Trevecca with the hopes of pursuing a greater purpose and mission in life.

“I want to be a drug and alcohol counselor,” shared Sandy. “That’s where my heart is—I had to start by getting my bachelor’s degree to move forward with whatever God has for me. Earning my degree showed me that with God’s help, I could accomplish anything I put my mind to.”

Today, God’s promises are evident in Sandy’s life. She ministers every Sunday night at the Davidson County Jail. She’s active in her church. She’s taking on special speaking engagements to share her story with others recovering from addiction. She recently started her new job as Activities Director for Trevecca Towers and continues to work as a trainer/teacher for O’Charley’s corporate office.

Your gifts gave Sandy hope for tomorrow. And today, her life is filled with peace, joy, and love.

 

WSMV’s Tracy Kornet

WSMV’s Tracy Kornet

One of the unexpected gifts of moving back to Nashville has been running into classmates or sorority sisters in surprising places. One such reunion got me an invitation to last year’s “Hearts of Hope” Valentine’s luncheon to benefit Nashville Rescue Mission.

Since it is a day of love, I guilted my husband and oldest son into coming along with me, too. It turned out to be the most meaningful and magical thing we have ever done together.

One woman spoke of her time as a homeless and drug-addicted mother, whose child was taken away from her. She was given a second chance thanks to the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. She held the room in the palm of her hand as she told her poignant story.

When she pointed out her daughter in the back of the room, who was watching her articulate, elegant, now-clean mother speak in front of 1000 people, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I also thoroughly enjoyed watching tables of other program graduates, who were dressed to the nines, being celebrated and validated for their growth, achievements, and transformations. And I’m pretty sure the whole room was holding back “Halleluiahs” when country queen Reba McIntyre took the stage and performed live in their honor. Yes. A private concert, just for them (and thankfully, us!).

To see these women from once desperate circumstances, up on their feet with their hands in the air, praising God for the second chance?! I’m telling you, we were praising right along with them, grateful for the chance to be a part of it.

Real life. Real change. Real need. That’s what Nashville Rescue Mission provides in this community. Since it’s a faith-based organization, it also doesn’t hide the real truth underneath it all—that we are meant to live free from the chains of addiction to fulfill our God-given purpose as mothers, daughters, fathers, and friends.

It’s been an honor to be a part of this year’s planning committee. I was eager to invite others to experience what my boys and I did at “Hearts of Hope”—90 of the most memorable minutes we’ve ever spent, reminding us how blessed we are to live with a roof over our heads and no worry of where our children will eat that day.

 

Tracy Kornet is co-anchor of Channel 4 News at 4:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. on WSMV-TV. She and her husband Frank attended Vanderbilt University. They recently returned to Nashville to cheer on their youngest son Luke, a 7’1” forward for the Vanderbilt Commodores men’s basketball team.

Creating Hope

Creating Hope

Darla and Amanda spend their days handling the finances for Omni Hotels … and their Tuesday nights crafting with Nashville’s homeless children.

Darla relocated here when the Omni Hotel opened downtown—just a few blocks from Nashville Rescue Mission. Upon arriving, she began searching for volunteer opportunities. She wasn’t sure exactly how she would help—but she knew she wanted to impact the city she now calls home. After contacting the Mission’s volunteer department and learning more about the opportunities to serve, she recruited co-worker Amanda. Together, they began planning craft nights for the kids who live at the Mission.

“I’m not even very crafty!” Amanda explains. “But it blows my mind how little art education these children have received. So we’re here to help them and give them the best experience we can. We want to them to leave each night feeling they accomplished something.”

While their moms are in a chapel service, the kids receive special attention from Darla and Amanda, while learning art skills that express and bring joy.

Volunteer

It’s more than markers and construction paper though. Depending on the children’s school load, Amanda and Darla will focus on homework and reading skills. “You can tell that some of these children have never had help with their homework before. That one-on-one attention is invaluable … we are so attached to these children. If one stops coming, we can’t help but wonder if it’s because he or she found a home or if it’s something else.”

For these women, volunteering each week is not only a time commitment, but an emotional and sustainably rewarding opportunity. Amanda comes from a family of teachers, and when she is with the children, teaching seems to come second nature.

Darla, for a while, used to avoid situations like the one she finds herself in each week. Moments like these would previously leave her angry and frustrated—upset about being unable to have a child of her own. But one day, she realized that helping children was part of her healing process. “I’ve now purposely put myself in this position so I can help children,” she thoughtfully reveals. “It’s really helped me realize there are still kids out there who need me, even if they aren’t my own.”

We are grateful to these women for giving encouragement and inspiring the children at the Mission, who they now care so deeply about.

NFL DB Randy Fuller Pays Us a Visit

We are partial to the Tennessee Titans  ­– but now, retired NFL defensive back Randy Fuller holds a special place in our hearts, as well!

Mr. Fuller, former defensive back for multiple teams during his football career, partnered with local nonprofit Cure for Our Friends. The organization collected coats, hats, socks, and gloves for the homeless. Their assistance is so appreciated, especially because they donated them just in time to be used for last week’s blizzard.

They arrived in style, thanks to a party bus who sponsored the transportation of the items.

Cure for Our Friends Pic

Thank you, Cure for our Friends and Mr. Fuller, for caring about keeping our homeless neighbors and guests warm during these winter months. Your generosity goes a long way!