What Are CORE Clients Thankful For?

What Are CORE Clients Thankful For?

As Thanksgiving approaches, we at CORE are grateful for the abundant blessings that God has bestowed upon us.  He has granted us the miracle of recovery and the opportunity to help others in need.  We are humbled by God’s grace and the many favors that we have received.

At a recent CORE event, we chased down as many of our clients as we could catch and asked them a simple question: “Who or what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?”  While some seemed a bit nonplussed by the recorder placed before them, each took a deep breath and summoned the courage to speak.  We think everybody had something valuable to share.  Here are their awesome responses!

I’m really indebted to God for my recovery.  He’s at the forefront; my recovery starts and ends with Him.  For my friends and all the staff at CORE, I’m very thankful.  I’m glad that I can enjoy life today, as opposed to the 25 years of what it was before.” 
– Adam G

My relationship with the Lord is most important, because I couldn’t have done this without Him.  I’m very blessed today.  And it’s because of Him that I was able to repair things with my mom and my dad.  That’s awesome, because I never thought that would happen.  And I love the fact that I have a job where I can help people.  I get to oversee the greatest group of girls ever, and I’m very grateful for that.” 
– Robin T

I’m grateful for sobriety and recovery.  I’m so thankful for my daughter.  I’ve got a great daughter, you know?  She’s such a good kid, and I’m so happy to be there for her again.  Also, I’m very blessed that she’s got a good mother.”  
– Christopher M

God, for His grace and forgiveness.  For saving me and allowing my recovery.  I’m happy to be alive today.  And thankful for CORE, too, because this program saved my life.” 
– Audrey H

I wouldn’t be where I’m at if not for God.  He’s been my rock through all this.  Sobriety isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, but he makes challenges manageable, somehow easier.  I’m also thankful for the people in my life pushing me to grow.  With their love and support I’ve been able to strive and achieve my goals.” 
– Gavin L

“There’s so many people. First and foremost, I’m thankful to God, who gave me a second chance at life. And for this program, the women at my house, and my children and people looking after them. I’m grateful to be alive today.”
– Katie R

“I’m grateful to God, and to the people who showed me the way out of addiction. I’m really thankful for the opportunity to help others and show them what I’ve found at CORE. I’m glad to give back, to pay it forward.”
– Neil F

If it wasn’t for the fellowship and friends I have here at CORE, I don’t know where I’d be.  They supported me throughout.  I’ve never really had a family, my whole life.  The people here are like my sisters and my brothers.  They’re okay with being leaned on when I need help and support.  And I’m thankful for God.  He opened my heart and mind to see the world differently and in a better way.  I have happiness and joy in my life.  He changed me.” 
– Megan B

I’m thankful that God has given me the opportunity and gift of teaching newcomers how to recover by sharing the 12 Steps that were given to me.  Pass it on.  I’m thankful for a great family,  the relationship with my son, my parents, and getting to see my brother and nephews.  And I’m grateful to Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for my sins.  I didn’t deserve that, but He did it for me anyway.” 
– Nick B

What am I thankful for?  Everything!  My work family, my real family, and the opportunities open to me.  With God, the sky’s the limit.  God can do all things!” 
– Jen B

I’m thankful for everything God’s done since I turned my life over to Christ, the connection to my children and family back home, and for my new family here.  I’m grateful for everything – the program, my new outlook on life, my job, and that I’m not running the streets anymore.” 
– Owen H

I was given a second chance with God.  A long time ago I gave up and left Him.  But then He found me, and it’s been wonderful.  I love it!” 
– Caren B

I’m thankful for CORE.  They never gave up on me.  It’s like that verse in the Bible where you go after that sheep.  I feel like God found me through CORE.  I’d tuned Him out.  I had resentments and selfishness.  But when I became open, willing, and honest, I started working the 12 Steps and all the negativity got removed.  God moved in and changed me.” 
– Gabriel T

I’m thankful for my family.  They were always there for me, even when I wasn’t there for them.  For my dad, especially, for giving me that tough love and doing what was right.  And my kids, who are wonderful, I’m able to be in their lives again.  And I’m very grateful for God, who’s responsible for my recovery.  I prayed to Him.  He answered my prayer and got me to where I needed to be.” 
– Cricket I.” 

I’m thankful for leaders in this program who have the kindness to tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear.  And in a loving way, the way that makes me grow as a person.  They’re like family who I can depend on.  And, of course, I’m thankful for God and His will for my life.  Looking around this room is a great reminder of why I’m here.  I’m able to help the newcomer who comes here just like I did.  Ultimately, I’m very grateful for that.” 
– Dallas C

I had a stroke that should have taken my life.  I’d been a 40-year long drug user, in the hospital and paralyzed all along my left side.  I lost a business, everything I owned, and had no place to go.  I came to CORE in flip flops.  It was only by being humbled that I found my way to God.  Today, I’m walking.  I commenced this program, and I am in the Second Mile.  I volunteer at the hospital and can even help Second Milers along the road.  Who am I thankful for?  I owe my life to God.” 
– Brian L

I’m thankful for rock bottom.  I believed in God but never really had a relationship with Him.  I had to burn every option, every bridge, until God was the only option.  Had I never hit rock bottom, I never would have found God.  I have a new life now.  It’s hard to pick just one thing I’m thankful for today.  I appreciate every moment now.  I’m glad to be able to show others that it is possible to get out of addiction and not be bound in chains.” 
– Kristi K

I’m thankful for so much, my family and health, and my sobriety.  I’m grateful to the Holy Spirit, who gives guidance and direction through conviction and leads me to bigger challenges.  And thankful for CORE, which showed me the way out – how to make a connection with God.  I’m also thankful to be able to serve, to get out of my comfort zone, and be able to help others.” 
– Jeremy H

I’m grateful to God for everything, for restoring my connection back with my family, and for giving me a second chance at life.  I’m very thankful for my CORE family.  The fellowship got me through some rough times.” 
– Jen M

God made it possible for me to be whole again.  I’m able to be with my family now.  I’m thankful to God, this program, and the 12 Steps.  I appreciate my mom for never giving up.  I get emotional just thinking about that.” 
– Brian F

I’m thankful for CORE and for coming here. I totally believe that if you give God control of your life that he will restore and establish you where you need to be.  I’m so thankful for my family and the relationships that have been restored.  And for God, who made me whole.  My eyes have been opened.  I have a good work ethic and believe in myself.  I’m committed to helping other people, which I believe is very important.” 
– Heather S

I was talking with the guys about this last night in the living room.  I’m thankful that God has given me a new attitude and a new heart.   Today I understand that the important things I will do are often the things in my past life I rarely wanted to do.  God has given me new vision, and especially an attitude of humility and service, which only He can accomplish.”
– Nick Z

I’m thankful that I got into a recovery program that saved my life.  CORE showed me how to get closer to God.  And now I can fill my cup and give it to the girls in my house so they can find the peace and serenity that I have.”
– Jeanna K

I’m grateful to God.  He’s the reason why I’m recovered.  He brought me back to where I am today.  I’m really thankful for CORE and my family.  They’re the best!” 
– Daniel B

Just thinking about everybody makes me want to cry.  I’m thankful for my relationship with God and for my family.  And my sobriety.  Today, I’m thankful for everything in my life!” 
– Alexandria P

I’m thankful for new beginnings, because without a second chance in life, I wouldn’t even be here.  And for God, who offered his Son for the forgiveness of all of our sins.  Family and friends, too, and my children.  And everybody at CORE – for the great community.”  
– Bracy S

I’m grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And my family.  I’m also thankful for the family and friends I have here at CORE, who are my support group, the people I spend my time with and who I look up to.  I owe God everything, without Him my life wouldn’t be possible.” 
– Dylan B

I’m thankful for being here in Branson, at CORE, to start my life over again and build up the tools that I need to be successful on my own.  I’m very grateful to God.  He put good people in my life and made big moves in my life.  I’ve been growing closer to Him, praying more fervently, and recognizing His will for my life.” 
– Terrance M

An Incredible Festival Weekend

An Incredible Festival Weekend

CORE is a happening place.  Something interesting and fun is always going on at one of our recovery centers or residences.  But when so many entertaining activities happen outside of our facilities, in a single weekend, that’s worth writing about!  Such happened last month when Hollister and Branson kicked off the fall festival season with competing events.  CORE took part in both and had a blast!

State of the Ozarks Fest

In mid-September, the bellwethers of fall were upon us.  The evening air became crisp, the pumpkins were ripening, and Friday night football was in full swing.  On Saturday, September 16th, the weather was perfect for the State of the Ozarks Fest in Hollister!

This festival lived up to its billing – a one-day celebration bringing community together in a heightened street fair filled to the brim with food, art, craftsmanship, and uproarious fun, all tied to the history and culture of our land.

CORE’s tent was right next to our friends at Queen City Beard & Mustache Federation, who kindly brought us to this event.  Our Second Milers handed out literature and talked to interested parties about recovery issues.  We also held a free raffle for two beautiful, new bicycles.  

We wish to thank our friends at QCBMF for sponsoring CORE at this festival.  The federation’s mission is to grow hair and communities, and to support charities.  Judging by the public’s response to our tent, all we can say is “Mission Accomplished!”  

A crowd of thousands of people turned out to enjoy the more than 100 vendors and the many activities.  One festival highlight was the Queen City Beard & Mustache Competition.  While several of our CORE people wanted to enter the competition, they quickly learned that it takes more than facial fluff to be in a mustache competition.  The winning peach fuzz has to have style and panache!

MCRSP Recovery Jamboree

On the same day as the SOTO Fest, our Second Milers also were across town in Branson, at a festival sponsored by the Missouri Coalition of Recovery Support Providers. 

The Recovery Jamboree is an outdoor, family event featuring free food, family fun and games, live entertainment, food distribution, and recovery resources.  This annual festival brings together recovery providers from all across the Tri Lakes Area for a day of fun and of making valuable connections.

For our participation, CORE offered putt putt golf for the kids.  Happy children laughed and giggled as they took turns putting colorful golf balls on the golf mini-green.  Parents and friends offered spirited encouragement, and the youngsters’ faces lit up with joy with every successful shot. 

The children were motivated by the thrill of victory, to be sure, but at CORE’s putt putt contest there was much more at stake – prizes!  Every winning shot earned a reward.  Happily, every child who showed the temerity to play successfully sank the putt and took home the prize of their choice.

While the children putted, our Second Milers handed out more literature.  We held another, free raffle for new bicycles for Recovery Jamboree participants, too.

We at CORE give a shout-out and a big thank you to MCRSP for inviting CORE to this treasured event!

CORE Holds Final Creek Commencements and Baptisms of the Summer

CORE Holds Final Creek Commencements and Baptisms of the Summer

On the last summer weekend of the year, CORE gathered together along Bull Creek for our final outdoor commencement ceremony and baptisms.  The sunny day, green trees, and grassy fields contrasted with temperatures in the 70’s and the chilly creek running beside us which hinted at the impending approach of autumn. 

Nestled in picturesque surroundings, the more than 200 in attendance held a celebration for the ages.  First there was fun and a barbeque.  There were games and activities, music, and socializing.  While everybody was mingling, Christos Papanikas and his crew prepared the feast.  They grilled burgers and brats, prepared pasta salad, sliced melons, and made other yummy stuff.  Everybody eventually settled onto lawn chairs and beach blankets for a delicious meal. When all tummies were full, we did baptisms.

Sixteen people were baptized in obedience to our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.  The water was cold, yet the hearts of all in attendance were warm in spirit and faith.  The baptism candidates made public confessions of their faith in our Lord Jesus, and they were immersed into the water by Cary McKee and Bracy Sams.  This was an important foundation for their life as Christians.  We ended up with a bunch of soggy but happy people, and our attention next turned to the graduates of our one-year recovery program.  

Eight clients commenced in all.  Amidst a backdrop of hope and resilience, the commencement ceremony was a poignant celebration of transformation.  The graduates came forward one by one.  Family and friends spoke on their behalf.  Whereupon, they all got roasted by their CORE house managers and friends (in good fun, of course!)

For each, tears of joy flowed freely as heartfelt words and applause resonated through our forest clearing along the creek.  Commencement is an important milestone in the recovery journey for each client.  God has gifted them hope, freedom, and life.  May their commencements mark the beginning on the road to happy destiny for each.  We are so pleased for them!

Bracy led the crowd in prayer to close the ceremonies.  We’ll continue to hold our commencement events at our Springfield and Branson recovery centers until springtime when warm weather returns.

CORE Wins Unprecedented 4th Consecutive Championship!

CORE Wins Unprecedented 4th Consecutive Championship!

On September 28th, CORE’s softball team pulled off the improbable by winning its fourth consecutive championship in Branson’s church softball league!

Our team overcame adversity all year, compiling a record of 7 – 5 during the regular season despite suffering injuries at key positions throughout the 2023 campaign.

When slugger Adam Guss went down with a knee injury during the semifinal game, the whole season hanged in the balance.  Rather than folding, our team rose to the occasion.

We won our semifinal game, and then we jumped out to an early lead in the championship match over the #1 seed.  The opposition tried to mount a comeback, but two things put an end to their shrinking hopes of victory.  In the 5th inning, Cade Ulery for CORE smacked a grand slam home run.  Then our defense got busy. 

Our defense came to play,” said pitcher Bracy Sams, who also manages the team.  In fact, CORE did not allow a single run for the rest of the game.  In one really exciting play, catcher Nick Brooks blocked home plate to prevent a runner from scoring.  And Bracy, who himself has battled bruised ribs for weeks, pitched two strike outs as part of the defensive effort.  Our infield also turned multiple double plays.

We added more runs late in the game, winning 13 – 3.  To celebrate, the team went out together at midnight for breakfast.  

Assistant coach Gary Osborn well summed up CORE’s 2023 season, saying, “We saved the best for last” – as he ate his grand slam breakfast.

Front Row (L to R): Jackie Hankins, Alex Saebens, Cody Renzelman, Bracy Sams, Nick Brooks, Adam “Big League” Guss, Jeana Knous

Back Row (L to R): Terrence Miller, Jeremy Hampton, Rollen Summers, Jeremy Mikel, Nick Larose, Cade Ulery, David Marti, Charlie Miller