Reentry Success Stories

Desperate Times Called for Desperate Measures, but a Re-Focus on God Provides a Second Chance

By September 4, 2019 No Comments

When our clients come to us at Riverside House, they have often done terrible things in a moment of weakness or desperation. They come to us after spending time in prison, where many of them discovered God’s love for the first, or maybe the second time.

In this testimonial, our client shares how his desperation to provide for his family meant that he ended up on the wrong side of the law. However, through spiritual guidance and the resources he receives at Riverside House, he has had the opportunity to re-focus on a life of gainful employment and God’s forgiveness.


My name is Damien*, and I have come a long way from my life of crime and shame.  My charge was bank robbery and possession of a firearm, and because of that, I have lost many friends and the trust of my family members.  As I write this testimony, I realize that I should not be in this position in my life today. My mother and father raised me to be a loving, kind, and giving person but sometime after college, I lost my way.

Growing up, I played basketball, football, soccer, and many other games that occupied my time.  My parents were known throughout the community for having children that were very respectful and always behaved.  Fast forward to the day of my crime, I remember being under high stress and anxiety that day, even though my mother had called me earlier to tell me that she loved me.  As I was going through the loss of my job and my wife was pregnant with our third child, it seemed like I didn’t have too many options, as I had already borrowed money from all of my friends.  In addition, during that day I was in an argument with my wife over the struggles that we were facing due to both of us being out of work. Because of all the financial stress I was under, I went to a bank, and simply slipped the casher a note stating, “I have a gun, and I want all the money in the register NOW!”  The cashier gave me the money, and I proceeded to walk out of the lobby as if nothing happened.  Interestingly, I made it home and thought that I got away. However, though I was home for two straight days, the second day the FEDS knocked on my door, and in front of my children, they arrested me for bank robbery.  That was the worst feeling in the world, to be arrested in front of your children and wife.  My life was over, and I felt like I was going to die in prison because I was simply a man that was trying to help my family through hard times. I often felt justified in this robbery because the bank had money, and the little bit that I had taken they wouldn’t miss it.  It seemed rational to me, and I felt like the judge that I had to face would understand that I was simply a desperate man trying to provide for his family.

While in prison, I realized that I wasn’t going to die and that if I prayed to God and asked Him for His strength and forgiveness, He would give it to me.  While in prison, I read a lot and received a lot of knowledge, which allowed me to get my mind re-focused on the things that mattered most.  Now, I am at Riverside House with a few months left on my sentence, and I am hopeful that as I prepare myself to receive gainful employment and the proper tools that will elevate me to being the best man, father, and husband that I can be.  I am grateful for Riverside House because they have been a great asset to me and have helped me a lot through my transition.



*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of our client.      

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