Road to Damascus

Hello Jim,

It was a pleasure speaking with you earlier. I enjoyed reading your paper, very enlightening. I have provided information about me and my organization. If you have further questions, please feel free to give me a call at 505-402-0199 (cell) or 254-732-0307 ext 12 (office). You will most likely get in contact with me on my cell phone. I have written information about how I got started with Road to Damascus , what are vision is, and so on.

As a young teenage girl I went through many obstacles during my teen years. However, those obstacles, family, and God helped develop and mold me into the young woman I am today. I was a teenage mom with an attitude and struggling to complete high school ; in addition to straddling the fence to be a rebel. It took me many trials and tribulations, until I figured out that I had a purpose here on earth and it was not about me! This occurred when I decided to let go and let God, my life changed for the good. Everything that I do is to glorify him.

My name is Mia Thomas and I am the Founder/President of a 501c3 non-profit organization called Road to Damascus Resource Center & Transition Home, Inc. that is located in the Waco area inside the Ret- Kat Foundation at 5034 Franklin Ave. Road to Damascus Resource Center & Transition Home, Inc. is a one-stop resource center that provides an array of services that at-risk youth ages 13-18 and their families in a crisis in the McLennan County area. We will provide mobile service in high risk communities such as Estella Maxey, Kate Ross, South Terrace, and East Waco communities. Additional services that are provided are, connecting individuals to local churches in the community (spiritual advisement and other services), Access to community resources, one on one case management, life /social skill classes, financial budgeting classes, career clothing and other household items and transportation assistance( fuel cards and /or bus passes). We will be networking with other agencies to provide the following services, mobile food pantry, mentoring, counseling for individual and family, to include outpatient drug classes, GED program and much more. We have been operating since May 16, 2012, but obtained our 501 c3 on June 28, 2010. Our vision is to provide guidance and implement spiritual solutions through Christian intervention, so that youth become empowered , independent , reduce recidivism rates in the community, and youth to become law abiding citizens and productive community leaders . We connect these youth and their families to services throughout the community that will help them feel respected , challenged, and accountable as they strive to meet the demands of adulthood.

RTDRC& TH, Inc. has a board of 6 members that volunteer their time to work with families and youth in the community. I currently work as a Juvenile Drug Court Probation Officer for McLennan County, which I will be leaving on June 15 after starting the county in 1998. My plan is to focus more on my ministry. Road to Damascus is currently serving 6 families from the Waco area addressing needs such as no medical insurance, financial budgeting, anger management issues, health issues, truancy issues, employment needs, etc. I was what many people stereo type or label our youth as today,” BAD, Dumb, Stupid, Criminals, Not going to amount as anything in life and the list goes on….” However, I was labeled these things by my actions, my outer side appearance, because I was afraid to allow anyone to get close to the real Mia Thomas.

I grew up in a single parent household and raised by mother. My mother and I lived in what some us of know and call “the projects” better known as the appropriate term low- income housing. We lived in the South, Georgia. My mother is a great mother, she struggled, but made ends meet to keep a roof over my head and to keep me safe. She is a God fearing woman that always made sure that I went to church and her word of God. In efforts to have a better life for me and my sibling, my mother joined the Army and served 9 years for our country. However, , by choice I started getting into lots of trouble that led to my mother saying , okay it’s time for you to go live with your grandparents, before your behavior get me kicked out of the service.” I was a rule breaker and pushed things to the very end. I wanted no structure in my life; I wanted to be my own boss. But as I got older I realized that the world was not going to change because I wanted to walk the beat to my own rules. Society places rules in place for a reason and if I wanted to be free in the community, well I had to adhere to those rules.

I tell many people that come across my path today that I don’t look like what I use to. God has brought me from a mighty long way and I refuse to go backwards. I always keep in mind what my Pastor Gaylon P. Foreman says, “You can move forward looking back in your rearview mirror.” I too used to be what every juvenile delinquent was labeled or told during life. I had truancy and behavioral issues in school, I was in and out of residential placements, I was labeled a marked as having some special ed needs and placed in special education classes, I was disrespectful toward adults and other public authority officials, and much, much more. All these problems were choices that I made and created for myself. So many people told me that I would not be successful in life. I was told that I was not going to amount to anything, but by the grace of God I proved them WRONG.

I am 37 years old as of today and can shout boldly and with joy that I have been everything that God has planned for me to be. It was by his grace and his new mercies that I have obtained two degrees. An Associate Degree in Law Enforcement from McLennan Community College and Bachelor Degree in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Eastern New Mexico University. I obtained these degrees when I was working full time shifts at McLennan County Jail in 1998, where I started as a Jailer and got promoted to as a Corporal /Supervisor. It was then that I realized that I loved helping other people. God has taken me along a long road of opportunities in life, where I have come into contact with many interesting individuals. I have worked with Freeman Center Women’s and Children Program, Methodist Home, Texas Youth Commission, Intern at McLennan County Adult Probation, McLennan County Juvenile Boot camp Program and Probation Department, MHMR Crisis Center, Carrizozo Police Department, AMI, Camp Sierra Blanca in New Mexico with committed youth (boys), New Mexico Probation and Parole Department, which have all connected me with some awesome and interesting individuals. However with all that being said, I couldn’t have some the things that I have experienced without God. He is my main squeeze... (Smiling). I thank him foremost because even when I was going through things in life he never gave up on me. He put his arms around me and always comforted me when I was happy and when I was down. He pushed me in every possible way to help me to be successful in life. It took me a while to realize that man will kick you when you are down, smile in your face when they want something, talk about you with others, and make promises that they can never keep. But God, will be there for you until the end, we just got to confess with our mouth, believe in our hearts, have faith and stay prayed up. I always remember that man will tell you what you want to hear to soothe your pains and cover up all the wounds and let go when they are tired. With all this being said God has given me vision years ago called Road to Damascus Resource Center & Transition Home, Inc with the direction to share with the people his goodness and who he is.

Road to Damascus plans to open an emergency /respite Shelter for youth in the McLennan County area. We would like to service youth that are homeless, in CPS custody, Juvenile Justice System, and MHMR/Klara’s Center services. Our vision is to open up a home or placement that will provide a place for youth to wash their clothing (laundry room), shower, safe place to sleep, computer center for them to utilize for their homework, mentors and tutors, structure and guidance, loving hearts that are caring and have a passion to work with kids, family setting/environment, and a temporary time out for child away from their parent in a crisis. As a parent with three teenage children, I used to think that the kids I deal with on a daily basis that are in the juvenile system could never be one of my children. But I was wrong in my thinking, God showed me differently that I myself was that child and it could be one of my children or family member.

There is a need in our community for a emergency /respite shelter for youth, transportation, work with families on case management basis to address juvenile issues, shortage of case managers, address poverty cycle and economic responsibility/ independence in programs, lack of outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment, school failure and, truancy and drop out, after hour counseling, recidivism and transition housing, and some of those needs are not being met. We have over 150 homeless youth that are “Couch Surfing” in our community.
Upcoming events , July 28, 2012 at Ret- Kat Foundation we will be hosting a Brunch Fashion Show to raise funds for the ministry. Please see attached flyer.

On August 18, 2012 from 9am-3pm we will be hosting a Back to School Jam 2012 at Carver Park Baptist Church. At this event we will be giving away school supplies, school uniforms, and back packs to grades K-12 to include food , live music performances, over 26 agencies will be present to provide information to the public about their services they offer and some churches will be participating as well. We will also be giving away some prizes and have lots of fun activities for the youth. Ministers will be onsite to pray with those who would like prayer as well. Please see attached flyer.

Road to Damascus need for everyone to truly pray and think about what is your purpose here on earth. We need your support and help. Please, we at Road to Damascus are crying out to the community asking for your prayers, support and donations. Please help us help our community. Help those that are hurting.

Please call me if you have any further questions, email address : .

Many Blessings,

Mia Thomas