Dontrez’ parents divorced when he was young and he bounced between households. He dropped out of school and got in with the wrong crowd. When he was fourteen, he got beat up at the mall, and suffered broken ribs, and a messed up eye socket. “I felt like I had to retaliate so I went to a party and shot some people.” Fortunately, they didn’t die, but he spent three years in a youth detention center.

A year later, he robbed someone and spent four years in prison. “I wasn’t in my right state of mind. I was angry at the world and not progressing.”

His mother had remarried and moved to Virginia. She took him in to give him a stable life. Dontrez didn’t want to be a burden, so she took him to the Mission. He joined the David Development Program (a mentoring program for young men 18-26). “Since I’ve been here it’s been nothing but beauty — meals to eat, being able to shower and get clean, and ministry every day. I leave it to God now.”

Dontrez got his first job at a local screen printer, then became a Houseman at a Virginia Beach resort. He saved his money and in July, “I got my own place in a nice area.

Mr. Metcalf [Program Director] put me back on track. I had a lot of trust issues. He was a mentor; a real friend. When I saw how successful other guys were, I wanted to be a part of that.

Now I pray to God every day. I was locked up as a young kid, but my grandmother told me, ‘God works in mysterious ways’ and she was right. Now I think before I react. If it’s too overwhelming, I pray. He gave his only Son for all of us. My faith is so strong now. I see myself working hard, getting my license, a car, making sure my rent is paid, and staying focused.

This place actually helps people — they really care.

My motto is ‘You have to be on a mission at the Mission.’ This is the beginning of my journey.”

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