Sarah's graduate certificate from Shelter KC

Sarah grinned ear to ear, pushed her graduation hat tassel out of her face and looked around the room full of guests who’d come to attend her graduation from the Women’s Center at Shelter KC.

“My father taught me faith through his walk. My parents loved me, and Psalm 23 stayed open on the table,” Sarah said.

Yet despite a faith-filled upbringing, Sarah turned toward clubs, drugs and bad choices to get her way. After a life-threatening situation where she miraculously wasn’t hit by four bullets shot at her (a miracle she believes came as her mom was awakened to pray for her), Sarah became open to living God’s way.

“The God I serve protects fools and babies,” she said.

Although she’d been to the Women’s Center once, nearly losing her life made her consider recovery again. She called from the county jail and once Wendy Cahill, case manager at the Women’s Center, met with her, she knew it was time. “From the moment she reached out to us, I knew she was ready,” said Wendy.

Sarah rejoined the recovery program and began to take small steps. As her thinking changed, her heart did too. A newfound humility emerged, as well as renewed tenacity. Sarah’s perseverance and commitment to recovery and healing made her the first woman to graduate from the updated Women’s Center program.

“You’re no longer diagnosable with what you came in here with,” said Beth Russell, Women’s Center Director and licensed clinical therapist. And then Beth added, “Everywhere you go, you become the leader. There’s a leadership mantle on you.”

With tears in her eyes, Sarah stood before the room and shared her upcoming plans: staying the course of recovery ... working for Shelter KC at the Women’s Center reception desk ... and living into the faith-filled legacy of her family. “I’m not running the streets anymore and I don’t want to be that person,” Sarah confidently declared. “I’ve truly surrendered.”