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Moments of Victory: Ready for the Workplace

A Second Chance for Sarah

For most of her life, Sarah found herself in and out of addiction. The constant pendulum swing between substance abuse forced her to cycle through nine different rehab programs to try and get clean. Sarah felt defeated. Back in prison, Sarah was desperate to break free of the turbulent spiral she found herself in. While there she learned about Victory’s Restoration Program and applied.

She recalls in her interview with Mark McKnelly, the Director of Restoration. As she unveiled her story of brokeness, a small part of her was hoping he would reject her. “Because I had given up on myself,” Sarah confessed.

After her interview with Mark, she was admitted into Victory’s Restoration Program.

Not everything has been easy for Sarah since she arrived at Victory. She divulged that originally she was suspicious of the process and afraid of what she needed to work through in order to begin rebuilding her life. But Sarah stayed one day after another. She found an intimate knowledge of the Lord and received support within the Victory community. Now, Sarah continues to learn how to break free of the cycle. “It’s just been blessing, after blessing, after blessing… I’m very grateful for Victory Mission. I’ve never stuck something out like this for so long, nor have I had the will or the strength or the confidence to do it either.”

One of Sarah’s ‘saving graces’ in participating in the Restoration Program has been through the Workforce Development programs. Victory helps individuals gain the skills they need to enter or reenter the workforce through a variety of classes, paid internships and apprenticeships, and local employment partners. From a young age, Sarah dreamed of being a mechanic. However, because of her situation, cycle of addiction and trauma, Sarah was afraid she would never be able to achieve her dreams.

Then she met Carl. Carl is the owner of Complete Automotive in Springfield, Missouri. Carl has participated in training at Victory through Jobs for Life. He’s served as a champion, business panelist, and mock interviewer. When he met Sarah during a Jobs for Life session, Carl interviewed her on the spot. Carl shared, “When I interviewed Sarah I said, ‘I see something in you that you don’t see in yourself.’” After hearing her story, and understanding her dreams, Carl asked Sarah to come on as an apprentice at Complete Automotive. Sarah was shocked and nervous, but she agreed and leapt into the position.

“We brought her in with the idea that we would be starting from level zero and it was going to be a slow process,” Carl stated. Beginning as a receptionist, Sarah has moved her way onto the mechanic floor and was even granted access to some of Carl’s old tools to help get her started. She is also excited to begin attending OTC next year to receive her certification as a Master Technician. Carl is proud of Sarah. He sees her dedication to growth, learning, and an admirable work ethic. Sarah reflected on her time since working for Complete Automotive, saying, “There have been some days when I’ve felt defeated and there have been some days when I’ve been so proud of myself that I want to cry. It all comes from the environment and the people that work [at Complete Automotive] and their willingness to support your dreams even if you think they’re silly or unobtainable.”

Sarah did not do this alone. It took programs like Jobs for Life. It took the support and encouragement she received from Victory staff and mentors. It took Carl’s willingness and compassion to take her on. Sarah can now say she is living her dream life–something she never believed possible just over a year ago. What a testimony! Carl shared some advice for businesses considering employing people with backgrounds like Sarah’s: “There are a lot of industries missing out on good, quality people… the people that are coming out of these programs they want to work, they want to get back into society, they want to pay back for what they’ve done.”


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