Graduate Success

"Staff was so supportive. I was never their star pupil, but they remained supportive and down to earth.”

When Leslie first came to Restoration, she was homeless and an addict. Her parents didn’t want her living with them. Due to her previous work for Child Protective Services in Champaign, she was aware of R.U.M.’s services. She believed that Program could meet her need for rules, structure, boundaries, and relevant classes where she could learn new ways of coping. (She reminisced that her “military dad” had provided structure which worked for her as a child, so she welcomed the many ways the Program addressed that need.)

Leslie commented that, “After moving into the facility, staff was so supportive. I was never their star pupil, but they remained supportive and down to earth.” Leslie has two children, a son who lives in California, and a daughter. She brought her young teenage daughter with her when she enrolled in R.U.M. (Although her daughter was embarrassed about living at R.U.M.’s residential facility, her daughter was provided services, as well.) Leslie was encouraged to attend church regularly, which helped meet her need for structure and added a spiritual component to her life, as well. She was able to find employment off campus (at a nearby grocery store), offering an opportunity to begin to get her life back on track. She said although she arrived at R.U.M. in a “backslidden state”, with the help of other Christians (some staff and some fellow residents), she was able to regain her footing.

After leaving R.U.M., she entered residential treatment for the last time. Once she completed that treatment, her parents encouraged her to return home to California. Leslie says she “reinvented herself at 47 years old.” When she arrived in California, she applied for a job at a homeless center. Upon meeting her future employer, he asked her what she wanted. She told him, “I want a job.” He asked, “Why should I hire you?” Her reply: “I’ve been clean for a year after almost twenty years of cocaine addiction. I’m ready to give back!” Though she had no experience, she was hired and successfully led groups for many who were working to overcome addiction.

After a time, Leslie was offered the opportunity to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), with her company paying her tuition. Upon completion of the certification requirements, she became a CADC-I; she currently teaches the Long-Term Offender Program classes at Solano State Prison. Also a licensed and ordained pastor, she regards her vocation as ministry.

When her parents really needed her, Leslie returned to Champaign (for four years) to care for them. She shared how proud she was to be there, clean and sober!