Ricardo Medina began using drugs at the tender age of twelve. Through the years, he abused everything from marijuana to speed, heroin, and cocaine. At one point, he even started cooking meth. Ricardo was living under staircases and bridges, sleeping wherever he could, and waiting for the next opportunity to use drugs.
Despite desperate circumstances, Ricardo didn’t want to change.
“I became dependent on government assistance at age 41 because of my addiction to drugs and alcohol,” he explained. “I saw no reason to really work at that time because it was easier not to, and I was using my food stamps to get drugs. I was using my government assistance to get drugs and I had free rent and they paid my utilities.”
However, his life took a dramatic turn when he met James Whitford, Executive Director of the Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission in Joplin, Missouri. Watered Gardens takes an alternative approach to helping the homeless who visit or reside in the center, asking them to trade their government dependence for a life of self-reliance.
That’s exactly what Ricardo did.
After becoming involved with Watered Gardens, Ricardo explains his journey back to independence. “I started working; started making more money by working than I was making through the government assistance. I felt better about myself; I was able to pay my own rent; buy my own car; buy my own food.”
Ricardo Medina has come full circle. He is now Care Coordinator at Watered Gardens, getting to the root causes of why residents coming in are homeless and, as he explains it, helping them become “un-homeless!”
Please take a moment and watch Ricardo Medina describe his amazing journey from welfare and dependence to hope and dignity.