Hope in Serving Others – Blake’s Story

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I’m Blake Goucher. I’m 25 years old and I’m from Kansas City, Missouri. I grew up in a fairly normal home. I had a single mom and three little sisters. I did well in school and never really got into trouble when I was younger. I was in advanced classes and always got really good grades.

My biological father was never in the picture. Because of that growing up I had feelings of abandonment and I always wondered if there was something wrong with me that led to that.

By the time I was in high school I had changed my group of friends, and with the change in friends came drugs being introduced. I started with pot like most teenagers do, but very quickly I got into opiates and that’s where things spiraled out of control.

It really didn’t take me long to start having trouble with the drugs.

I entered my first treatment center at the age of 16. I spent 42 days there but did not complete the program successfully. I spent the next 10 years in and out of treatment centers and sober living houses. I never really had much luck staying clean and always found myself relapsing or using while I was in treatment.

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At one point I was staying in a sober living facility in Kansas City and I lost two of my loved ones, my grandpa and my grandma passed away about four months apart. I went off the deep end using drugs and I was kicked out. That’s when I ended up being on the streets of Kansas City homeless. I was staying at the Kansas City Rescue Mission and had to be out every morning at 6:00 am.

Usually, I tried to find somewhere to go and hang out during the day like the library, but some mornings I ended up sleeping on a pile of bricks in an alley-way because I knew no police were going to come by there. It was somewhere I could be safe.

A friend of mine who is a graduate of the Justin’s Place Recovery Program knew my situation, he knew I wasn’t doing well and got a hold of me. He asked how I would feel about spending a year in Florida.

I really didn’t know what to expect but I was hopeless. I really thought there was no chance of me ever changing my life.

Things weren’t getting any better and he was willing to pay for the plane ticket so I said yes. I came down to Justin’s Place very sick from coming off the drugs. I was going into withdrawal and suddenly was really scared about being away from home. I had never really been far from Kansas City.

When I got into Justin’s Place I was immediately met with a lot of love and support from the staff. I was able to get to know the group of brothers that I’d be with the whole year in my first month of Motivational Track. That really kind of changed things and gave me more confidence.

One day I was sitting in a class with one of the instructors who explained the difference between resignation and surrender. He made me realize that for years I had been resigned to being an addict, and to the fate of being an addict. Because of this realization, I was able to find hope in the success of other people who came into recovery before me and realized I could surrender and find healing from that disease.

That’s when I started reading the Bible and I actually started to know Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

In my third month of the program, we went to a dental event where volunteer dentists helped us with basic dental needs. I came to the program having previously removed all my teeth. They were a pretty broken mess. I didn’t think there was any chance of saving them because it was going to cost too much money. During the event it didn’t look like they were going to be able to do anything for me, but at the last second this dentist pulls me aside and takes a look in my mouth. He says, “hold on a minute.” and he puts molds in my mouth. He told me to come back tomorrow and said he’d have a full set of teeth for me! It was hard to believe but I came back the next day and I’ve had a new set of teeth ever since. That changed everything for me. Before, I couldn’t smile, I couldn’t laugh. I’m a musician who likes to play guitar and sing and I couldn’t really do that anymore. Overnight everything was different. I kept saying, “I get smile!” I could talk to people with confidence and I played music the whole time I was in the program. I started learning praise and worship songs and I got involved in playing at different churches.

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When the time came I joined the Recovery Team as an Intern and this helped me grow a lot. It taught me about being responsible for myself, but also taught me how to be responsible to others. It taught me the importance of being someone that a person can lean on, and also how to be a source of support for others. I knew that I desperately needed that support in the first place.

I worked on the Recovery Team for six months and just recently got hired by St. Matthew’s House full-time as the Harvest Run Driver. Every day I wake up and I drive a St. Matthew’s House van around town. I get to be the guy who meets donors, and who gets to pick up the food that supplies the meals for the Campbell Lodge Shelter and the community in general. It’s awesome to know that each box I pick up and load into that van is going to feed a family. I can see that as I do it.

I think back a lot at how I was out there in addiction a year ago today. It just amazes me the kind of work that God is capable of doing in my life. If you would have told me then what my life would be like today, I just wouldn’t have believed it.

I hope in the future to be able to they use my gift for music and to be a service to others.

My two favorite things are giving back to others and playing music, especially praise and worship. An opportunity to serve others with music would be my greatest dream. There have been so many people who have done so much for me in this past year. They have been put in my life by God. I definitely understand and believe that. I’m very thankful for it.


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Dear St. Matthew’s House Supporters,

I am thrilled to share some exciting news with you as current supporters of our mission. We wanted you to be among the very fi rst to know that St. Matthew’s House is introducing a fresh new look through a refreshed brand and logo.

For over 35 years, St. Matthew’s House leaders, staff, volunteers and donors have followed Jesus as called in Matthew 25:40 - transformed thousands of lives - and established the "Heart of St. Matthew's House." As we launch this new look, we honor that foundation and build upon it for the future.

This July we launch our new logo, website, and other collateral materials. We remain committed to the 35-year track record of our faith-based mission serving those experiencing hunger, homelessness or addiction in a way that relaunches their lives. 

Together we provide hope and healing to those experiencing some of life’s most challenging circumstances to assure they are not alone or without a pathway for their journey from crisis to contributor. The work of St. Matthew’s House includes the five pillars of food assistance, homeless shelters, addiction recovery, transitional housing and workforce development.

The new logo carries forward the iconic “Heart of St. Matthew’s House” but now the heart is encircled by an arrow that points to a “pathway” and symbolizes forward movement in our participant’s lives. Its vibrant look conveys the innovative, caring and collaborative nature of St. Matthew’s House. A new tagline states “Journey Together” as an invitation to join with St. Matthew’s House in cultivating communities where people in crisis are progressively seen, accepted, challenged and supported.

Over the summer months, if you are in Naples, you will begin to see the application of the new logo on signage at St. Matthew’s House properties as well as in our communications. We also hope you check out the fresh new look of www.stmatthewshouse.org.
As the summer goes on, you'll also begin to see a refreshed look to our thrift stores and other social enterprises as well!


Steve Brooder
St. Matthew’s House
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