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.”
Dontrez is in the David Development After-Care Program. He got his own apartment and was doing well until one night he fell asleep while cooking French fries and caught his kitchen on fire. Because you gave, the Mission was able to pay $250 in damages so he wouldn’t lose his place, and several Davids helped clean up the mess.
Then he lost his job and couldn’t pay his rent. Once again the Mission stepped in, paid his rent, and helped him get a better job. Dontrez was amazed that the Mission still cared about him. “This place actually helps people. They really care. My faith is strong now.” His journey continues …
Pamela was born and raised in Norfolk by both parents, one of six children. She graduated from high school and went to college earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs. “I worked at Thalhimers, Sun Trust Bank, SEACEP, ODU, and Norfolk State University.” She got married in 1979, then …
Wesley was raised in Virginia Beach with two half-brothers. He graduated from Green Run High School and went to college for a bit. “I partied too hard and dropped out.” He didn’t do drugs in high school or college; not until later. He tried to go to community college for a while, but mainly he …
Michele was born and raised in the Cavalier Manor section of Portsmouth by both parents. She has two sisters and a brother. Her father died when they were teenagers and her mother died in 2008 after a long illness. She graduated from Manor High School and attended Norfolk State University for four years. She didn’t …