Making A Difference That Matters

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Christmas offers opportunity to meet spiritual, practical needs of our community

This is one of the most wonderful times of the year at the Ventura County Rescue Mission and the Lighthouse for Women and Children. Covid-19 has impacted all of our worlds. When I was writing this letter last year, I truly thought that we would be on the other side of this pandemic by now,…

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Frank looks forward after battling ‘dark times’ in his life

Frank was born and raised in Bakersfield. He grew up in a home with both parents and five sisters, and after graduating high school, he left the family home and enlisted in the Navy. “My time in the Navy was a dark time in my life,” Frank said. “I was trained in the medical field.…

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Gloria: ‘Everything I expected, everything I needed, it’s here’

With just two months left until graduation, Gloria has been looking forward to that milestone. But she knows that her journey doesn’t end there. She is planning to enter the Lighthouse’s transitional living program and eventually live on her own. Gloria receives social security payments, as she can’t work due to psychological issues, but she…

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Dustin encourages Mission program to ‘rebuild your life’

After years of watching his father drink, Dustin noticed that his dad would act differently when consumed alcohol. He was only 9 when he took up the habit. “I started asking my dad for sips of his drinks, and he would give it to me,” Dustin said. “I really liked the taste of alcohol, which…

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Carlos gets off the streets, finds help at the Mission

For the last few years, on and off, Carlos has called Interstate 5 his home. A small underpass settlement off the 5 South in Pacoima, set up with plywood and a large tent, was where he spent his days and nights. “It was dangerous,” he said. “Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep…

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Amber and her daughters grow in faith together

Amber grew up with her father, a mostly single parent to her and her sister. “My mom was only kind of in the picture,” she said. “She moved around a lot and mostly lived out of the state.” Even though she said life was “more stable” with her father, they moved into a hotel when…

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Julian credits his relationship with God to Mission program

Julian was born in Los Angeles, but he moved to Camarillo as a child with his family. Julian grew up in the home with his mom, sister and the man he believed was his father. He later found out the truth, something he still struggles with. Julian went to Camarillo High School, but was often in…

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Desiree has experienced ‘real heart change’

Gang activity and drug addiction run deep in Desiree’s family, and unfortunately, she was not able to avoid that path herself. She was born and raised by her mother in Oxnard. “My mom comes from a hard background-she was born addicted to heroin,” Desiree said. “My grandmother was in prison during my mother’s whole life,…

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Larissa: ‘When I’m with God, I feel at peace’

Larissa didn’t have a lot of consistency in her childhood home, and was often at the center of domestic violence and gang activity. “When my stepdad went to prison, he left me and my brother, and also three children—his kids—behind,” she said. “My mom was never around so I took care of them. They celebrated…

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Charles says ‘the future looks hopeful’ after Mission stay

Charles is originally from Indiana, but he moved with his family to California when he was just 5. His parents divorced when he was 10. He grew up in a house with his mother, stepfather and half-siblings. “I still had a great relationship with my biological father,” said Charles, who said he enjoyed fishing and…

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SCOTT SQUASHES HIS ‘INSTINCT TO RUN,’ STAYS GROUNDED AT MISSION

Scott grew up in a busy house—he had five brothers and both of his parents worked. They lived in the San Fernando Valley and Washington State before settling in Thousand Oaks. When he got to high school, Scott started drinking. “At 14, I figured out that I could change the way I felt by alcohol,”…

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MORE THAN A DECADE AFTER GRADUATION, ANDREA HELPS OTHERS RESTORE WHAT THEY’VE LOST

Andrea grew up in Los Angeles in a Christian household—she had pictures of Jesus “all over her house”—she said. But even with that positive influence, Andrea found herself going through a major teenage rebellion phase. “My stepdad would tell my mom, ‘She’ll grow out of it.’ I didn’t. I didn’t have a bad life—it was…

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