Renewal Story: Thomas
Posted: March 11, 2020
Thomas never wanted to stop being a dad. But as a single father, when he lost his job and his home, he had no support system, and his choices were bleak. Was he going to live in his car with his two little boys… or walk out of their lives?
Just when he was facing the choice of giving his sons away, Thomas heard about another option, one that would keep the family together: Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County. “It was the only place that would take in single dads with kids,” Thomas says.
“After I lost my job, I was in a deep depression,” Thomas remembers. “I wasn’t being a dad to my boys. I was being a caretaker, feeding them, putting them on the bus, going through the motions. I was just lost.” Since coming to UGM-TC, he says “I’m able to be a dad again.”
Thomas and his sons – Thomas Jr. (T.J.), 11, and Ezekiel, 7 – joined our Family Program last spring, “It’s been great for my boys.” T.J. and Ezekiel have been able to attend their old school, which made it easier to adjust to life at the Mission. They also made friends with other children in the program as they shared field trips, birthday parties and even karate lessons!
A Time of Renewal
For Thomas, the past year has been a time of renewal and rediscovering his role as a father. “A lot of the reason I didn’t feel like a dad is because I wasn’t providing for my boys,” he admits. “But I learned that the biggest part of being a dad is just being with them, taking them to the park, getting on my knees and praying with them.” Thomas found the emotional and spiritual support he needed in various programs and events offered by and through the Mission, including Alpha, Fatherhood Effect and Pure Adventure. “The resources here are amazing!”
When Thomas arrived at UGM-TC, he immediately started taking steps to move forward. Before long, he was working for Clean Slate, a local social enterprise that hires people experiencing homelessness. “We basically clean up the city,” he explains of his job on the Litter & Ground crew. Today, he leads a crew of 12 men and is on track for a position with the City of Fort Worth.Never Alone
Looking ahead, Thomas says, “I want to get my license renewed and start saving for a vehicle. And I want to get my own place and get back on my feet. But before I leave UGM-TC, I want to start working for the City.”
When Thomas and his boys are in a home of their own, they will look back on their time at UGM-TC as a time of bonding. “God is the only one who kept us together as a family,” Thomas says gratefully. “God is life to me.”