Charles Glascoe grew up in Baltimore. “My mother struggled with addiction,” says Charles. “So, my grandmother raised my 4 brothers, my sister and I. Because of my mother’s addiction, I was born addicted to heroin.
“I started experimenting with alcohol and marijuana with my classmates when I was in middle school. I spent time in and out of the juvenile system.
“My substance abuse led me to making bad choices and I started dealing drugs. At age 29, I ended up in federal prison and was there for a decade. While in prison, I studied different faiths and religions. I met someone there who helped me understand my spiritual side and helped me to embrace my life and purpose as a Christian. From that time on, I wanted to go to school. I knew that everything I experienced had happened for a reason and I believed that I was called to be an example.
“I was clean and sober for the 10 years that I was in prison. I was released at the age of 39. I started working at the Salvation Army as a truck driver and eventually became a supervisor.
“My girlfriend and I had a son. I felt a pressure to make money knowing that my son was relying on me. I couldn’t understand that God would provide. I tried to be a business man but I felt shame because I felt like a man should provide. I began to isolate myself and cut off a lot of friends for no reason. I started hanging out with people I knew I shouldn’t hang out with and ended up cheating on my girlfriend. I was now living a lifestyle of deceit and a started using drugs again.
“In 2010, my son’s mother told me that I needed to get help. I heard about Helping Up Mission and decided to enroll in the Spiritual Recovery Program. I did well at the Mission at first but found myself facing discipline for behavioral issues. I wasn’t willing to accept the structure and consequences. I left the mission in 2010 but stayed in touch with some of the staff and program members.
“I enrolled at Baltimore City Community College and graduated with an associate’s degree in general studies in the spring of 2013.
“I relapsed in 2014 and binged hard. My girlfriend had had enough and she told me she couldn’t do it any more. Over the next year or so, we were together off and on. I would get clean but then relapse again. Finally, it was over and she told me I had to move out. I walked out of the house with two bags and no money in my pockets. I curled up at a bus stop shelter to sleep for the night. The next morning, I went to Helping Up Mission.
“Once I arrived at the Mission, I was able to relax for the first time in year. I didn’t have to worry about anything – eating, a place to sleep and shower, clean clothes. Everything I needed was right here. My fear had subsided and I was looking for purpose so I started praying. My vision for my future was clear – education and helping people.
“I enrolled at the University of Baltimore to study Human Services. I am excelling in my classes. I got a job through the University of Baltimore Center for Student Engagement. We partner with different organizations throughout the community to foster community development and community relations and to promote diversity. I was able to spear head a project for national homelessness awareness – we brought together community leaders to discuss how they can address issues of hunger and homelessness.
“I graduate from Helping Up Mission’s Spiritual Recovery Program on March 20th and will graduate with my Bachelor’s degree next spring. I want to continue to get involved with different community organizations. I am an excellent organizer and planner. I like to be able to offer wrap around services and add components to existing organizations. I believe this will enable people, organizations and businesses to come together to foster change over all.
“My ultimate goal is to have peace in my life. I’ve had chaos and confusion for a long time. But, to have a sense of direction and peace has been life changing. I’m not in this career path for the money – I know it’s not going to be a big financial gain for me. The issues I’m trying to address don’t have to do with money – it’s about caring for people.
“I’m facing a new challenge. I found out a few months ago that I have cancer. I just had a tumor removed and am ready to start chemo therapy. I’m a fighter and have perseverance and faith. I believe that this storm will past. Through hardships and adversities we find healing and I am not afraid any more.
“I finally have a sense of direction. I’ve found purpose and my life really has meaning! For that I am grateful.”