This is the time of year when families everywhere are celebrating graduations. It marks an important time in a person’s life. He or she is ready for the next big step in their academic or professional careers. But there are many other types of milestones that a graduation can commemorate.

Recently, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) celebrated the “life” graduation of 437 clients at its newly-renovated Banquet Hall/Conference Center in Detroit. Some had completed at least 90 days of substance abuse treatment. Others had completed job training and educational classes. Some were moving on from DRMM’s transitional housing programs. And others were happy to have earned their GED. The energy and enthusiasm in the room was unbelievable.

Just like a high school or college graduation, the DRMM graduates had proud family members in attendance to cheer them on. They all received certificates. But unlike a typical graduation where you get a diploma and you already have your next plans made —or perhaps you’re not sure if you’re going into your chosen field of work — this was a graduation where the graduates are regaining their lives and celebrating a rebirth. They are starting out on a new venture in life. And believe me, it hasn’t been easy.

At some point in their lives, many of the people participating in DRMM’s graduation had lost all hope. Some of them had attempted suicide and slept in vacant buildings, under bridges, in cars and on the streets. They were prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals and the impoverished. But after they came to the Detroit Rescue Mission, they received another chance and another outlook on life. Their past didn’t matter; just their future.

The DRMM graduation celebrated “change.” These graduates are getting a fresh start in life. Approximately 80 percent of them now have a full-time job or are going to school. The other 20 percent are on the road to recovery and a new life by remaining clean and sober. Congratulations to all of the DRMM graduates for your accomplishments! We share in your joy.


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