A new drug and homeless recovery program is believed to be the first-of-its-kind in the area. The program is connected to Watered Gardens, a Joplin homeless shelter.
Jamie Myers, a volunteer at Watered Gardens, noticed a bad cycle. Men, in particular, would come to the homeless shelter, leave, maybe get arrested, then come back to Watered Gardens.
Myers, and others at Watered Gardens, felt Joplin needed a more structured recovery program.
Jerry Logan counts his blessings.
"Doing pretty good. Honestly, in comparison to two years ago, I'm doing great. God has blessed me in many ways," says Logan.
Logan has been clean of drug addictions since April.
"Man, I was on the road to destruction, for sure," says Logan.
Logan has a job now. He's a maintenance worker at Mercy Hospital, thanks to a new organization called The Forge.
"I think for the men who are students here, it can mean the difference between life and death," says Myers, who now works at the Forge.
A few businesses, like Mercy, partner with The Forge to help people like Logan, during and after recovery.
Myers, program director at The Forge, knows the obvious.
"No one is going to make it unless they want to," says Myers.
She knows the reality.
"Some people see this as a get-out-of-jail free card," says Myers.
But this one-year school, so to speak, for the homeless and addicts is intense. About 12 students go through four phases.
"Phase one is our education phase," says Myers.
Students learn about ways to get a GED, and take field trips to businesses. Phase two involves The Forge helping students get a job. The independent life comes in phase three.
"We have a transition house and the guys live there," says Myers. "They pay a small amount for rent and utilities. They should be working at least 30 hours a week. They're going to church somewhere. Going to a meeting or two a week."
Everything depends on commitment.
"I believe a lot of it has to do with your heart, you know," says Logan.
The Forge has been around for a little less than a year, and nine people have already dropped out of the program. But Byers say the success of one person makes this new mission worthwhile.
Logan has three more months in The Forge program. He follows-up with a mentor every week, and plans to join the Army. Logan and the Four State community have reconnected.
"The guys who make it, you can tell not only do they want to make it for themselves, they don't want to disappoint the people who love them. You fall in love with the people. You really do," says Logan.
Church buildings were donated for The Forge, located on 15th Street. The Forge completely runs off donations to Watered Gardens, and The Forge is looking for more business partners to help get people back on the right track.
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