Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 16:06 Written by Kevin Bryce Tuesday, 24 July 2012 13:12
FOCUS North America provides Food, Occupation, Clothing, Understanding and Shelter to our neighbors here in America who need it most. Our services and programs support sustainable growth and development in the lives of those we serve, helping to move people out of poverty and into stability.
“FOCUS North America is a national movement to help the working poor take that final step of moving from a place of dependency to self-sufficiency,” Executive Director Nicholas Chakos said. “We work hardest at getting people into good jobs and permanent housing, because sustainable employment and housing are really the key components to lifting people out of poverty.”
Chris Ridley—a volunteer at FOCUS Minnesota—stands as an example of this transformation. Seven years ago, Ridley hit rock bottom when he was arrested and sent to prison.
“I messed everything up;” Ridley said, “it only took five minutes and one big mistake.”
Ridley visited several rescue shelters in his area, but he felt that they were all paths leading back to his previous, destructive lifestyle. When he discovered the FOCUS Center, however, it was a different story; he was welcomed, loved, and recognized the Center as the place where he could cultivate his transformed life.
At his lowest point, he prayed and recommitted his life to God. “I fell to my knees and said, ‘Show me what you have for my life,’” he said.
After his prayer, Ridley began to exhibit good behavior and positive change, allowing for his release from prison last year. Upon re-entering society, he immediately wanted to find a place to continue the transformation he had begun.
“I knew I needed to give back to society,” he said. “I needed to be an example for people to see not only what a true believer is, but also [for them] to meet someone who has been incarcerated and has changed for the better.”
“He faithfully comes to work, serving meals to the homeless and assisting with our clothing distributions,” FOCUS Minnesota Center Director Vera Proctor said. “He's slowly made a life for himself through his own friends and church activities, and we’re really blessed that part of his life is with FOCUS.”
Ridley feels he has a growing ministry to set an example for others—proving that a person can live a transformed life.
“My goal is to show others that no matter what a person’s past is, it’s who they are now that matters,” Ridley said. “I represent true change that can impact the world.”
FOCUS North America is changing the lives of many people like Chris Ridley, so that they too can help inspire others toward similar transformations, from lives of poverty to stability.
Please consider making a donation to support the work of FOCUS.
Visit www.focusnorthamerica.org , call toll free at 1-866-267-3083, or mail a check or money order payable to FOCUS North America, P.O. Box 871578 Kansas City, MO 64187-1578.