Joseph Voorhees, 42, a Case Manager with HOPE Counseling & Addiction Services for four years, went through the Adult & Teen Challenge Ohio Valley program, graduating in May 2015.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of direction, but in the last few months I was in the program, I started to try and encourage some of the newer guys,” Joey said. “I would see the lost looks in their eyes like I had when I first came in. It felt good to be able to give other people a little bit of help. I kind of got addicted to that – serving others. I decided to stick around here and felt strongly that this is where God wanted me. I’ve been here ever since.”
He truly enjoys helping others. “There’s a satisfaction I get every time I’m able to lend a hand to someone and be of service.”
Joey started using drugs and alcohol as a teenager and that steered him to the whole drug lifestyle. That, in turn, led him to sell drugs. “When I was 34, the legal system finally caught up with me,” he said. He expected to spend several years in prison when his lawyer suggested ATCOV to the judge. She researched the program and agreed to send Joey there as a “test case.”
“In a way, I’d been spending the last 20 years hanging out with criminals and I was ready to go to prison and hang out with more criminals,” Joey said. “All of a sudden I’m going to a place where I was going to be hanging out with Christians. I think that made me more nervous than when I thought I was going to prison!”
Joey felt a belonging from the beginning. “The first night I was here they had a chapel service,” Joey said. “When I went in and I heard the music and I saw everybody praying, it kind of brought me right back to when I was a young teenager, going to church and I felt at home.”
Still, his transition into the program didn’t happen all at once. “If someone would have told me during my first couple months that I was going to be here seven years later, I would have told them they’re insane.” But the more he saw, the more he liked it. “Eventually, I started to realize that there was no other way I wanted to live my life than the way that God wanted me to,” Joey said.
Today, Joey works hard on his relationship with God. He begins and ends each day talking to the heavenly Father. His time at ATCOV led to another important relationship too. Joey met his fiancée, Jill Parker. She started The Next Step Ministry in 2015, giving a new pair of dress shoes to everyone who graduates from ATCOV. “That’s how we met,” Joey said. “I was the seventh pair of shoes that she gave away. I think now she’s on like 210 pairs or somewhere around there.”