Kody Jenkins, age 32, was raised in Carroll County. “I have always loved basketball,” says Kody. “I started playing when I was 5 years old and soon enrolled in community leagues.”

“When I was 12 years old, I started smoking weed and drinking. During my junior and senior year, I moved to acid and heroin and cocaine. I was still playing basketball. In my senior year, I was 3rd in Carroll County for most points scored. Scouts started talking to me and I had a promising college basketball career to look forward to.

Arrested for the first time

“When I was 17 years old, I was arrested for the first time. I was in and out of courtrooms. Right after high school, I had an assault charge. Three days later, I was arrested on major drug charges. They gave me a nine year sentence of which I served about five years.

“After I got out of prison, I knew I still had the basketball talent but I saw the opportunity slipping way from me. I was in and out of rehabs and kept telling myself I would try to play basketball when I got the oppurtunity. Over the next 5 years, I was incarcerated 4 more times and went to rehabs 6 times.

“I didn’t have any relationship with my family during those years. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror let alone be around my family the way that I was. Because of my actions, I hurt family members very badly. I knew I had really messed up and that hurt even more badly than the prison time.

“I got to the point where I had no control over myself or my addiction. If I didn’t get help I would eventually start robbing stores or doing other things I didn’t want to do. I knew it was time to get help. I had heard about Helping Up Mission in the past and decided that it was time to give it a try.

Life was always on the run

“Before I came to the Mission, life was always on the run. I don’t remember ever enjoying life. After I had been at the Mission for a while, I noticed that I was starting to have fun. We went on a retreat to Camp Wabanna. I woke up early so I could catch the sunrise – it was serene. As I started to come to peace with myself, the dream of playing college basketball was reborn.

“My Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. When I heard the news, I realized I needed to be able to face him before he died and apologize for that pain I had caused. I had forgiven myself and I knew he had too but I needed to go to him. I visited him and we had a long talk – that was the start of our reconciliation.

Back on my Feet

“My Dad’s diagnosis gave me the motivation to start pursuing my dream of college basketball. I started working out and joined Helping Up Mission’s running team through Back On My Feet.

“I started talking to John, a HUM volunteer who works for Maryland Economic Opportunity Center – an organization that assists individuals in obtaining grants. He knew that I didn’t know how to get started. He helped me fill out the applications and helped me connect with the basketball coach at CCBC Dundalk.

“The coach invited me to attend an open house and try out. When I met the coach, I told him that I had a rough past and things were hard in my 20’s but I was there now. I told him that I wanted an education and I had been waiting for this opportunity for 14 years. He told me that everyone deserves a second chance and that they had a place for me on the team.

“Once I was accepted, I started preparing for college! I enrolled in a summer class to get me prepped for school. I also took advantage of the tutoring services at the Mission to prepare me for my placement classes. Having a tutor allowed me to pass the test and avoid two non-credit classes.

“Running with Back On My Feet prepared me to play basketball again.”

“Running with Back On My Feet prepared me to play basketball again. They taught me discipline through getting up and running every morning. Running helped me to improve my speed.

“I love playing basketball! I’ve been playing in the games and doing really well. It’s a dream come true to finally be playing college basketball.

“Helping Up Mission is a blessing! The Spiritual Recovery Program is set up in a wonderful way. I came to the Mission with a lot of pain. The first 45 days of the program when I was on restriction and unable to leave the building gave me time to stay still and get my head right. Having memory work in Pastor Gary’s class was important to help me start thinking again.

“Having access to counseling at the Mission was critical. The counselors helped guide me through the time with my Dad. They always pointed me back to my relationship with God.

“Helping Up Mission has everything you need to change you life but it’s not going to fall in your lap. At the Mission, I realized that I needed to seize those opportunities. They give you anything you need to change your life!


Elroy Hutcherson was born in Virginia and raised in West Baltimore.  “My family has always been a church family,” says Elroy.  “My four siblings and I were raised in the church.

“My dad and uncles drank.  Even though it wasn’t out of control, it was something that I noticed as a child.  When I was 16, I started smoking cigarettes and drinking beer with my buddies.

“My main motivation for drinking was fear.  I wasn’t used to hanging out with the guys.  I desperately wanted to fit in and be cool with them.  Drinking built my courage up and made me feel comfortable so that I could be more outgoing.   Eventually I started smoking marijuana as well.

“I was going to school during the day and working full time at a restaurant in the evenings.  I dropped out of school because it was just too much to try to balance both.  My grades had been suffering because of 
my schedule.

“At the age of 18, my son was born.  Drinking and smoking was a daily thing for me – every day after work.

“I met a woman and we started dating.  I moved in with her in the projects in Lexington Terrace.  She eventually became my wife.  I got a better job and started working for an insurance company.  Things were going well at first, but my drinking and drug use started to interfere with my work.  They could see what was going on.

“The company had a policy that would allow them to pay for my rehab if I was interested.  They sat me down and talked to me about it and I told them I wanted to go – I knew I had a problem.  The company flew me to a 30 day program in North Carolina in 1989.  I learned so much and stayed clean.  Being in a new environment and around new people was amazing!  I was ready to change and I felt great.

“After I completed the program, my wife and her mother picked me up at the airport.  I could smell the alcohol on them and my mind started racing.  When we arrived home, they had a surprise party waiting for me.  My mind told me to stay strong but I was overwhelmed by temptation amidst the emotions of seeing all my friends and all of the alcohol.  I gave in – after that first drink, I was back.

“I was able to keep my job.  They wanted me to go to 3 or 4 AA meetings a week.  I went, but the denial was there.  After 5 years, the company moved and I had to take severance pay.  Finding a decent job was hard because I didn’t have my high school diploma.  I started working with a healthcare union as a housekeeper.  I was there for about 9 years before I had a work accident and broke my foot on the job.  By the time my foot was completely healed, the position was no longer there.  So, I hired a lawyer and won the case.

“By then, my wife and I had split up and I was living with a new girlfriend.  In 2006, after 8 years together, my girlfriend died.  She passed away right beside me in bed one morning.  At this time, I still wasn’t working and I was suddenly in this big house all alone.  Then, I received the big lump sum from the accident and the partying started.  I had all this money and a big house to party in.  I was inviting friends over and partying became a daily thing.  I was trying to cover the sorrow and loss.  But, it wasn’t long before the bills started piling up and the money started to run out.  I couldn’t take it anymore so I turned the house over to my girlfriend’s grandkids.

“I moved in with my sister and lived there for the next 3 or 4 years but I wasn’t feeling comfortable.  In 2010, I decided that it was time to make a change.  I was 50 years old and sitting on the couch – it wasn’t working mentally or physically.

“My sister helped me find the Johns Hopkins 911 Broadway Program.  It is a recovery program and Helping Up Mission provides lodging for the men enrolled in that program.  As I lived at HUM, I met a lot of men enrolled in their residential Spiritual Recovery Program.  I loved what they have to offer, particularly in regards to education.   I started preparing to transfer into the program after I completed the Hopkins program.  But, in my fifth month in the Hopkins program, I relapsed.

“Eventually, I came back and enrolled in HUM’s Spiritual Recovery Program.  I wanted to stay clean.  I wanted to get my diploma. I earned my high school diploma after a year.  That felt wonderful. I started working in the Mission’s Innovative Learning Center for my work therapy assignment afterwards.  I was giving back to the place that had given to me – that felt so good!

“I started working at Johns Hopkins through a temp agency. I am now getting ready to become a full-time Hopkins employee as a Material Coordinator. I stock materials in the operating room that doctors and nurses use to save lives. It’s overwhelming to be a part of that.

“I know my diploma helped me get my job. I help others get their diplomas because I hope it will open doors for them like it has for me.

“I am able to face challenges today.  Life isn’t all peaches and cream but I don’t have to hide from things like I did for so long.  I am thankful to have found Helping Up Mission!”

Kevin Hough, age 50, grew up in West Virginia, near Charles Town. “My father left when I was 3 years old,” says Kevin. “I have one brother who is four years younger than I.

“In the sixth grade I started experimenting with drugs – pills and marijuana. When I was in seventh grade, I quit school because I wanted to go to work and make money. I worked at the race track walking and galloping horses. It was at the track that I was introduced to cocaine which was a big deal in the ’80s.

“My aunt and uncle helped me to get a job locally. At 17, I started working in Reston, Virginia as a laborer for a construction company so that I could make more money. The man who owned the company would drive us there every day. We all used every day.

“I eventually became a carpenter helping to build houses. I was able to do that much closer to home.

“I met a lady and we got a place together. We were both smoking marijuana and drinking. I didn’t let her know about my cocaine use because I knew she wouldn’t like it.

“Eventually, my addiction took over and I lost my carpentry job. I had a hard time finding consistent work. I started using more and stealing to feed my habit.   The house was eventually foreclosed on.

“I went to jail for a year for cashing a bad check. Everything was gone at that point, including my girlfriend.

“After I got out of jail, my mother and brother let me stay to get straight but I messed that up. I was homeless for about a year. I stayed in churches overnight and wandered the streets bumming money for drinks during the day.

“My Aunt Cathy stepped in and told me I could do better for myself and encouraged me to get help. After I found out about Helping Up Mission, my family drove me to Baltimore.

“Once I joined HUM’s Spiritual Recovery Program, I was ready to get started! I realized that all that time, God had been leading me to a different path.

“I started attending Miss Carol’s weekly art class. I appreciated it because it gave me time to think. I also joined the choir. We were preparing to sing at the annual graduation banquet. It helped me because it allowed me to be myself.

“I used to run in High School. When I heard about Back On My Feet’s running team at the Mission, I knew I wanted to join. When I first started with the team, I couldn’t even run a mile. The first race that I completed was a 5k and now I am training to run the half marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival in October.

“When I arrived at HUM, my teeth were down to nubs because I used to grind them a lot. Through the Mission’s dental program, I was able to get a whole new set of teeth.

“I knew that I wanted to work on my education. When I first took the placement tests for the program to earn my High School Program, I couldn’t pass them. So, I started Adult Basic Education classes so that I could pass the placement tests. After passing the placement tests, I started studying and, in February of this year, I got my High School Diploma. Now, I have the confidence to have a conversation with someone and look them in the eyes.

“I started talking with HUM’s vocational coordinator about my future. He encouraged me to get a certification. I was able to get a grant and attend CCBC for a one-year heating and air conditioning certification program.   There were still some expenses left to cover and I was able to get a scholarship from Central Scholarship and Back on My Feet helped me with the cost of my books. I’m signed up to the Advanced Electricity Class and then will take Commercial Refrigeration.

“While I continue my education, I am living in HUM’s graduate transitional housing. It’s a great opportunity. There is no way I’d be able to focus on my education without it.

“If I didn’t make the decision to straighten up my life, I’d still be out on the corner somewhere wishing I had done something. Living straight and living right has really changed me. I used to worry a lot about what people thought. Now that I know who I really am, I am at ease with myself.”

Jerome Dorman, age 57, grew up on the Eastern Shore with his seven siblings. “I first tried alcohol at 8 years old,” says Jerome. “My parents would have company and leave drinks lying around. I decided to give them a try. I thought it was something cool to do.

“When I was 15 I started drinking beers with my buddies and eventually I started smoking marijuana as well. I dropped out of school when I was in the 10th grade. I wanted to be with the in crowd and just wasn’t interested in school at that time. I had been a good student but I was bored.

“There was a lot of field work on the Eastern Shore – hauling and picking watermelons. I was always able to get a job.

“My addiction started to really escalate when I was 18 years old. I was living with my grandparents. They sort of knew that I was using but never said anything to me about it.

“When I was 20, I started smoking coke to try to fit in with the in crowd and by 21 I was shooting dope. I had an uncle that shot dope and I had always wanted to try it. My drug use just increased from there. I was using drugs all day, every day. I got to the point where I couldn’t keep jobs. I’d lose one job and move on to the next.

“I was arrested several times for assault and paraphernalia charges.   I went to jail for the first time at 18 years old and by the time I was 39, I had spent over 10 years in jail.

“I met a woman and we had a son together. Becoming a father brought me in from the streets. I was still getting high but I wasn’t hanging out in the streets as much. She eventually got tired of my drug use and having me in jail and, after 8 years together, we broke up.

“I moved back in with my grandparents. I was smoking coke all of the time. I had a lot of friends that sold coke and they always kept me supplied.

“My grandparents both died within a short amount of time. This really upset me and I went off on a big binge. They left the house to me and my siblings. One of my brothers and one of my sisters were living in the house with me and they were both using drugs. I went to jail for 8 months for a parole. When I got out, I came home and the house had been destroyed. They hadn’t taken care of anything while I was gone. The utilities hadn’t been paid and the water and electricity had been shut off.

“With nowhere to go, I was homeless. I slept under a bridge for a week. I knew that I wanted to make a change and needed help. I told myself that wasn’t how I was supposed to live. I went to the health department and they referred me to a 28 day rehab program at a state hospital. On the 27th day, I was talking to my counselor and told them that I still needed more help. I had been using drugs for 40 years and needed more than 28 days. I didn’t have anywhere to go that would be healthy for me.

“My counselor called around the Eastern Shore but couldn’t find an available bed for me. The only place that I could find was Helping Up Mission in Baltimore. I was reluctant to come because I am a country boy and didn’t know how I felt about going to the city. She told me to take the day and think about it. I decided to give it a try and they drove me to the Mission from the Eastern Shore.

“When I arrived at the Mission, I settled in very easily. I already had 28 days of clean time when I arrived so I was used to recovery at that point. I started watching the guys that had been here for a while and I realized that this place would be alright.

“When I arrived at HUM, all of my teeth were gone due to drug use. I found out about the Mission’s dental program and was able to get a new set of teeth.

“After being at HUM for a month and a half, I started working towards earning my high school diploma. On May 22, 2011, I earned my high school diploma! After getting it, I was so excited that I decided to keep going and go to college. I watched 3 of my HUM friends who were enrolled at Sojourner Douglass College and they inspired me. I wanted to become the first member of my family to graduate from college.

“I enrolled at Sojourner Douglass and got set up with some grants. Living in transitional housing at HUM has allowed me to focus on my education. I am studying to become an addictions counselor so that I can help others that have struggled like me.

“I plan on going back to the Eastern Shore because I know there are a lot of people there who are struggling with addiction. There are a lot of guys I grew up with that are still out there doing the same things I was doing 4 or 5 years ago. I hope they see me and the transformation I have made, I hope I can influence them to change their lives.

“HUM is an amazing place. It has really helped me and taught me a lot. You won’t find another place like this for recovery. If anyone out there needs to go somewhere for recovery, I suggest they come to Helping Up Mission. Even on my worst days, my brothers here lift me up.”