Changed Lives

Kairy’s Story
“Now I’m Found”

Kairy comes from a loving Christian home, and he’s not sure what led him down the path of alcohol addiction. Maybe it was the racism he experienced growing up in Georgia. Maybe it was the stresses of life when he moved out.

Whatever triggered it, Kairy dove into the deep end, battling the bottle and bouts of homelessness. He got in trouble with the law and did some time in jail.

When on probation, the court ordered him to move to a transitional living facility. Kairy chose Crossroads. It might’ve been the best decision of his life.

Kairy got sober, got counseling, got a good job, got all the help he needed.

“They’re good people,” Kairy says of the Crossroads staff. “They stand on good things. They helped me with my mental state, with coming back into society.”

Writing poetry has also helped. Kairy, who goes by the pseudonym Kûpid for his rap-like rhymes, saying his writing keeps him calm and focused. Here’s just a snippet of his work:

I once was lost but now I’m found
But what I lost is nowhere around
My heartbeat I heard, but is it how I sound?
Eyes start to drown as they gaze upon love’s crown …
What I’m trying to say is every blessing is a count

Kairy’s certainly counting his blessings … starting with supporters like you.

“I can only imagine where I would be without Crossroads,” he says. “This is a good place. They always give you a helping hand.”

When you give someone a helping hand, it’s an extension of your compassion. Thank you!

Chance’s Story
Second Chance

Chance didn’t have much of a chance, considering his background. He was estranged from his biological family. His adoptive family abused him, locking him in his room for a week at a time with no food or water. He ended up selling drugs to try to make ends meet.

Chance joined the Marines in an attempt to find a fresh start, but was medically discharged due to a bad heart. He tried another fresh start: He got a job and got engaged … only to have his fiancée steal all his money and run away.

“I got left in the cold,” Chance says. “I hit rock bottom.” That’s when his drinking and drug use worsened.

Chance felt suicidal. He drove around, aimlessly. He happened to be driving through Nebraska when he ran out of gas — right down the street from Crossroads. He spent the night there … and ended up staying for six months.

Chance finally got sober, got a job and got out on his own again — making the most of his second chance.

Your heartfelt generosity is giving struggling neighbors a second chance!

A previous guest shares her gratitude…
My mother, siblings and I were homeless with no place to go and no one to take us in!

From 2018 – Crossroads Mission Avenue was blessed by a special gift last night when a previous guest donated this cookie.  With permission, we share her story …… “I hope everyone enjoyed the Eileen’s cookie!!! I wanted to share why I wanted to give this cookie to Crossroads but I was so choked up when bringing it in! When I was younger (year 2000) my mother, siblings and I were homeless with no place to go and no one to take us in! Crossroads opened their arms and hearts to us and gave us a pillow to lay on and food to eat so we wouldn’t starve! It became a home to us and others and staff became family! Crossroads saved me and my family in our desperate time of need!! My mother passed away the next year (2001). Us children (at the time were ages 10 (me) 13 (brother) and 16 (sister) moved into our grandparents home! I know the cookie wasn’t much but it meant so much to me to give it to all of you!! My mother would have done the same exact thing! Hope you all enjoyed! God bless ❤️”

Maria’s Story
“Every day I am getting closer to the goals I have made.”

From 2014, here’s Maria’s story in her words:  Hello, my name is Maria. I want to let you know how Crossroads Mission has helped me find myself by opening their door to me at my time of need. Earlier this year I was not the person I am today. My life revolved around drugs. My daughter was removed from my home. I gave up on life since she was removed and turned to drugs to cope with life. In April, I lost my home because of drugs. I also lost my job earlier in the year because of drugs. Doing drugs made me forget my pain in my past and current living situations. I thought as long as I had drugs to turn to, then I could live. After moving from one place to another, I got tired of wondering where I was going to sleep that night. On July 18, 2014, Crossroads Mission opened their door to me. Now I can tell people I have a place to stay without worrying if I will be kicked out for no reason. Since I have been at Crossroads, I have been able to successfully complete classes for probation and my aftercare program. Crossroads has a program for all of us guests to complete. We can complete this program on our time so we don’t feel overwhelmed with other things we are working on to better ourselves. The program is called the “Personal Resilience Program (PRP).” The program talks about the following topics: 1. Enemies of Resilience 2. Beliefs Matter 3. Managing Your Life 4. Financial Resilience 5. Resolving Everyday Conflict. When I first got here, I told myself that I didn’t have time for these classes and was making up excuses to not attend them. Finally I told myself I needed to grow up and start to make a difference in my life. Now that I have completed the PRP classes, I am glad that I took the time to attend each session. The classes helped me to remember my morals and values in life. It gave me other tools I can use if other ways are not working out the way I think it should be doing. After three months staying at Crossroads Mission, I feel 100% than in April. Every day I am getting closer to the goals I have made. My days are not as stressful. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that can be hectic, but I know I will overcome the obstacles that am facing that day.

Cole’s Story
“I’m a Completely Different Person”

For Cole, the choice was a no-brainer.

He could go back to jail and lose his job. Or he could go to Crossroads Mission Avenue and keep working. He didn’t have to think about it: Crossroads, of course.

Cole was fortunate to even be given a choice. He’d been in trouble with the law before, and spent two years in jail on multiple charges. When he was released in April 2020, he was on probation and warned to stay out of trouble. But a few months later, he was busted for driving while intoxicated. That’s when his probation officer gave him the choice.

On being given a second chance, Cole says, “I was really thankful.” Crossroads is all about second chances. We’re a place of grace. “They’re not judgmental,” says Cole, 27. “They don’t look down on you.”

Cole, a longtime alcoholic, hasn’t had a drink since that DUI. He credits Crossroads, and God, with his transformation. “I’m a completely different person,” he says. “I love being sober, and I have no desire to use again. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to set off good feelings in my brain. I’m really high on life right now.”

Cole, who is Native American, adhered to his culture’s spiritual beliefs for most of his life. But at Crossroads, he discovered Christianity, and has fully embraced it. “I’ve had a spiritual awakening,” he says. “Now I believe in the Holy Trinity — God, Son and Holy Spirit.” He’s motivated to stay sober. He has a good job in the manufacturing business, and he’s looking forward to getting his own place again.

“I’m just going to keep working hard,” he says. “Thanks to Crossroads, I’ve got a new view of life.”

Thank you for all you do to help people turn their lives around.

Serina’s Story
“They’re Wonderful!”

Serina couldn’t keep a job to save her life.

She would lose control at work — an outburst, a scream or physically lashing out — and get fired. She’d find another job, and the same thing would happen again. And again. “I was let go a lot,” she says.

Serina ended up homeless, wandering the streets. Her erratic behavior continued; she couldn’t keep it under control. She asked for help at Crossroads, where they took her to a doctor. And at 41 years old, Serina finally got an answer. She had Tourette syndrome. “I didn’t know I had it,” she says.

Crossroads worked with doctors to get Serina on the medication that would keep her condition under control, enabling her to live a more “normal” life.

“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d still be out on the street,” she says. “Those people are wonderful!”

For Serina and many others, you help neighbors in their time of need.

A volunteer’s experience – Mark’s Story
“It’s been an adventure!”, says Mark.
Sky and Kelsi’s Story
“Kelsi says if it weren’t for Crossroads, she wouldn’t have a brother anymore.”

Sometimes you’ve just got to show some tough love to those you love the most.

Sky was ruining his life, his health and his relationships with his drinking. His sister, Kelsi, had seen it all as a probation officer and knew a little something about caring for a person without enabling their bad habits.

“I did the hard love thing,” she says. “Not giving him money, not letting him stay at my place . . . ”

Sky interrupts: “Never ask her to buy cigarettes, that’s for sure!”

The siblings laugh, but then Kelsi turns serious again: “I totally thought I would be burying him.”

Sky doesn’t argue with that. His drinking had resulted in five arrests, contributed to the loss of his marriage, and ultimately led to homelessness.

At that point, he decided he had to make some changes. So he came to Crossroads Mission Avenue.

“I came here to quit drinking,” Sky says. That was July 16, 2020. He hasn’t had a drink since.

Sky’s success story goes beyond just sobriety. By December, he was on staff as the manager of the Crossroads probation house in Grand Island. In that role, he helps men who are on probation or parole to get back on their feet and find a job.

Their jobs rarely intersect — Sky is in Grand Island, Kelsi works for the probation office in Hastings — but they do sometimes “talk shop.”

But mostly, they’re just a brother and sister who care about each other very much.

Sky says if it weren’t for Kelsi, he’d have no relationship with his family. Kelsi says if weren’t for the Mission, she wouldn’t have a brother anymore.

“I believe they saved my brother’s life,” she says.

Thank you to Crossroads Mission Avenue’s loyal donors — for your support and for playing a role in these life-changing stories!

Update to Alena’s Story
“I’ve Started a New Life”

The 1990s were a terrible, tragic time in Russia.

Though communism had been abolished, the country spun into economic and cultural chaos. Crime and lawlessness prevailed. The economy was in shambles. Things got so bad, average life expectancy went down.

Yevgeniy had wanted to get his family out for some time. When his wife suffered a debilitating accident at work and was unable to get the medical care she needed, Yevgeniy felt even more urgency to leave. So he packed up the family and set off for a new life — first in Canada, and then in the U.S. The family of five, including two sons and a daughter, would find a place to start fresh … and hopefully get the medical attention Yevgeniy’s wife needed.

Unfortunately, the dream never materialized. Yevgeniy’s wife never got better, Yevgeniy’s own health started to decline as well and the bulk of the home duties — cooking, cleaning and caring for her parents and brothers — fell to their young daughter, Alena.

Alena, overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a caregiver, started using drugs to cope. Then, when her mother died in 2012, Alena fell hard into a heroin habit. Yevgeniy, devastated by his wife’s death, drank heavily to cope. “Her death knocked me off my feet,” he says. “I never understood loneliness until she passed. I felt really lost. Drinking helped me relax and helped me cope with my feelings.”

The family was in bad shape. Alena ended up in prison on a drug charge, serving two years. When she was released in 2020, she ended up at Crossroads. Here, she received help kicking her drug habit, getting back on her feet and changing her life dramatically for the better. She wanted that same transformation for her father.

Since Yevgeniy also came to Crossroads, he has turned his life around, too. He has quit drinking, he’s much happier, and his relationship with his children — all adults now — has significantly improved. Particularly with Alena.

“Today, my state of mind is feeling freedom,” Yevgeniy says. “I feel like I’ve started a new life, but I know my time is running out.”

Yevgeniy has numerous health issues. And while medical intervention has helped, he is now living with Alena and her boyfriend, who care for Yevgeniy. Their father-daughter relationship is stronger than ever.

“My whole life, my dad was absent — not physically, but emotionally and mentally,” says Alena. “We never had any conversation. But now, we sit down and have great conversation. You can see in his face that he’s happy. It’s such a good feeling to have a relationship with your parent that you’ve known all your life, but you feel like you just met.”

You help people find a new life at Crossroads. Thank you for giving people the hope of renewal!

Mohamed’s Story
“On the Right Path Now”

Mohamed knows what it’s like to be homeless with no place to go. After all, he was born that way.

He was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, where his family had landed after fleeing war-torn Somalia, where several families members had been killed. When Mohamed was about a year old, his family came to the United States, seeking safety and opportunity.

Mohamed’s father deserted the family almost right away, leaving the little boy to grow up without a dad. “I never really knew him,” Mohamed says. “I had no guidance, no role model.”

As Mohamed grew into his teens, he started getting into mischief and minor trouble. By the time he was 17, he was into drugs and frequent brushes with the law. At 20, he was convicted for theft and failure to appear in court, and sentenced to two years in prison.

When he was released early this year, once more he was like a refugee with no place to go … till someone pointed him to Crossroads.

“I came here with nothing but the clothes on my back,” Mohamed says. “But once I got here, they were a big help.”

In addition to providing food, shelter and clothes, the Mission helped Mohamed land a job as a butcher at the JBS Meat Plant in Grand Island.

Mohamed says without Crossroads, “I probably would’ve died, or went back to prison. I’m definitely on the right path now.”

Thank you for helping people who are lost find the right path!