Drug abuse hung like a dark cloud over Clarence Bouie for 17 years of his life, causing all the hurt and despair one might imagine.
“I thought I’d be dead or in prison,” Clarence said of his younger self. “But I let God do His plan.”
That plan has led Clarence down some twists and turns, and through more than one treatment program, but today, with 11.5 years of being clean under his belt, Clarence is living a life filled with joy, with Jesus, and with a new part-time job at Jericho Partnership. A life, transformed!
This new position on Jericho’s facilities team represents a life come full circle; Clarence was a client at Discipleship House, a residential ministry that is now a component of Jericho’s Good Samaritan Mission. And even though Clarence is now on the payroll, it’s far from his first encounter with Jericho Partnership. On the contrary, Clarence has been a Jericho volunteer (as well as paid summer staff) for about eight years – working primarily with kids at our Spring Street Neighborhood Center.
“My mother always said, ‘when something good happens, it happens for a reason. But it ain’t no good if you don’t give back,’” he said. So, for several years now, he’s been dispensing love – and even tough love, because he knows the kinds of challenges they face – to the kids at Spring Street.
“I love those kids,” he said. “When I see them smile, I’m good. I’m content. I don’t need no Rolls Royce or a big house on the hill. When I go home, I just can’t wait to wake up again and go back to Jericho.”
Clarence’s road to recovery began in Maryland (he’s from Annapolis) and went through a program called Teen Challenge in Rochester, NY. That program, which was also for adults, provided counseling and education aimed at helping clients stay off drugs. He graduated without a real plan for his life, and soon experienced pain with his back. That, he said, is where the enemy got a foothold.
“I felt the enemy saying, ‘I got ya now because you didn’t have a plan,’” Clarence said. God once again led him to Pivot Ministry in Bridgeport, where he also found some temporary success. A final push led him to Danbury, and our ministry here.
“That place is where I was discipled. I got my high school diploma. I got my own apartment. I got a job,” he said. “Now, I enjoy my life the right way. Jericho keeps me sane. It keeps me clean.”
Throughout his challenging years, Clarence had a relationship with the Lord. “I was baptized in the Church of Christ at age 28. We fall. It ain’t about how you fall; it’s about how you get up.”
Clarence will share his story of transformation at Jericho’s Annual Gala on December 1; the theme for the night is “transformation through mentoring,” and Clarence’s journey is rich with people who he says have spoken truth – even difficult truth – into his life.
“So many different people told me what I needed to hear, but in a positive helpful tone,” he said. “When I am in a depressed mood, I just go see them. I don’t have to go find the drug man – I just go to Jericho Partnership.”