LifeRight still working
HANCOCK - People were hopeful yet skeptical. Some said it would never work while others worked hard to make it work.
There were those who offered support, both financial and vocal, while battling the nay-sayers and pessimists.
The optimist won this battle. Those who said LifeRight would never succeed have been proven wrong in a big way. The Christian outreach program for those most in need of help, has worked.
Since LifeRight was founded in 2007, 45 men have gone through the program and half of them have turned their lives around and been baptized. Of the remaining men, another half left the program briefly and have since returned, realizing what it has to offer.
LifeRight was founded in 2007 by Mark Foss, formerly of Hancock. Foss had a personal reason for forming the faith based rehabilitation center.
He knew how his faith turned his life around. He had been released from prison in 2005 after a life of drugs, alcohol and crime.
Foss found a new life through Jesus Christ, sobriety, and hard work.
Instead of being just another number, he began to realize his potential and decided to make a difference.
Foss worked closely with investors who believed in him, to buy a closed church in Alexandria. The church was renovated and remodeled into apartments along with a sanctuary and meeting area. The church can hold ten men who sign up to partake in a four to five month program.
The program has an extensive curriculum and if they stick with it, the men graduate with a certificate. During this time they are also given part-time jobs and do volunteer work in the area.
Helping Foss at LifeRight Outreach is Jay Jensen who serves as the Director of Ministry. The men who choose to enroll at LifeRight know up front that it is a Christian based program. There are a number of Bible study groups, worship services and group time for sharing. A newly added Wednesday night service sees 40-60 people in attendance, ranging in age from 16 to 80.
"We see miracles every day," said Jensen. "We can't believe the change and testimonies we get to see all the time. We look at what is in a person's heart."
Jensen has a similar history to Foss and many of the men in the program.
He can also attest to how faith can turn your life around and shares his personal story with the men as he ministers to them.
While in the program, LifeRight finds jobs, gives the men a place to live and offers support for the challenges they face while trying to change their lives. Sometimes it doesn't work the first time around but Foss and Jensen are just as excited to welcome back those who leave temporarily. They abide by strict rules at LifeRight which, in the end, help the men make these changes.
Part of LifeRight Outreach is to help the men get past the situations that landed them there. They work with them to get beyond the problems in their past and to the bottom of long-standing issues. They also take a Christian approach to this area of recovery.
Financing of LifeRight has primarily been through donations and fundraisers. Each year since 2007, they have hosted a LifeRight Hog Roast in Alexandria. The event features food, music and time for sharing and testimonies. Foss and Jensen have decided to extend this activity to include the Morris and Hancock area by holding a second hog roast in Morris.
The first annual Morris LifeRight Hog Roast will be held on Sat., Aug. 27 at East Side Park. The event will run from 2 - 5 p.m. There will be live music by "Shasta Blvd."
LifeRight Outreach is beginning its fifth year and getting stronger with each day. There are less people waiting for the program to fail and more sharing in the positive results. The skeptics are becoming more encouraging and hopefully, through all this, more men and women will eventually be able to change their lives forever.
Foss concluded that they are not in this for fame but rather to show that it is possible to change.
"Everyone knows someone who needs this kind of help," Foss stated. "There are those who say, if Mark can do it, we can too. We can help those people."