Genesis Outreach is a self-sufficiency program in Fort Wayne that celebrated 30 years of business Friday night.
Nori Shepherd is a graduate of that program and said she would not be where she is had she not enrolled.
“Some of my family are toxic, and so, when you’re entered into a program that’s family, and it’s like they come with grace and mercy is their biggest thing, and so I just was able to open up to them 100% completely,” said Shepherd.
Shepherd is a recovering opioid addict. She’s been arrested twice and lost custody of her kids. After a year in the Genesis program, she is now sober, lives in her own permanent housing and will be getting her children back next month.
She met one of her best friends through Genesis. Jaime Lemus graduated from Genesis Friday night and said both her and Shepherd’s recoveries would not have been possible without the friendship they have.
“When you’re an addict, nobody understands being an addict like another addict, especially someone trying to get help so the relationship we have the bond is so close,” said Lemus. “We help each other. We push each other. Me and Nori are very different people, but we push each other in good ways with qualities that we each have that the other doesn’t have.”
Albert Brownlee is the CEO of Genesis. He is excited about where the program is because it’s gone from needing government funding for 80 to 90% of its budget to now not needing government funding at all. He said he is proud of the last 30 years and is ready for the years ahead.
“”Work is not work, but it is ministry for me. It is a way to be a servant leader in our community to help make Fort Wayne a better place to live for all,” said Brownlee.