A Story of Hope: A Look into Hope Ministries

A Story of Hope: A Look into Hope Ministries

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “One of my favorite things in life is to be a dad, I was a father of four, I was still married, but I have always struggled with drug addiction,” says Todd Bogunia, former resident at Hope Ministries. “They told us we better find someone to take your kids or we will detain them, at that moment my heart stopped, I had to stop my addiction.”

In 2017, Todd Bogunia lost the one thing that means the most to him. His family.

“I was hopeless when I walked through here, the main thing is I was heartbroken, I broke my children’s heart, and I had to get them back, that is why I walked through the doors, to get my kids,” says Bogunia. “But I did not know how I was going to get them I just knew I had to be here.”

And on one hot summer day, Todd made a decision that would completely change his life. It was July 30th of 2017 when he entered the doors of Hope Ministries. Immediately, he set his focus on one goal…getting his kids back.

“We set up supervised visits and first visit I saw my kids again and you can tell they were scared they did not know what was going on but every Tuesday and Thursday I would get to see them two hours at a time at the library.”

But his road to recovery was not easy.

“So, we all sat down and the lady from CPS asked my case worker is Todd ready for his kids and I am excited for her to say yes and she says no, and it broke my heart, but she was right I was not ready.”

But Todd, kept fighting. With his youngest daughters’ picture around his neck, he never lost hope.

“But when you live here you wear a tag right, you wear a tag with your name tag but for the whole two years I was carrying her picture with me and every time I would get down or feel bad, I would look down at her picture and it was almost like her saying get back in there daddy.”

Almost 2 years later, in 2019, Todd left Hope Ministries with his children. Now, 5 years clean from heroine, Todd has made his own home and life for himself…all thanks to Hope.  Hope Ministries has been serving the South Bend community for 68 years. The faith-based ministry opens their doors to those in need of a place to stay. But hope is more than a homeless shelter.

Men, women and children alike are enrolled in their programs. These core classes educate residents about boundaries, belonging, trauma, God and more.

“We have trauma informed care that we do here at Hope to look beneath the behavior so what happened to this person,” says Denise Sellers, Director of Resident and Counseling Services at Hope. “So instead of what’s wrong with you why are you behaving this way, say what’s happened to you recognizing people’s behavior is telling us something is under the surface.”

Hope Ministries explains most of the faces of those homeless on the street are people from traumatizing backgrounds. Even people like Todd can recall needing a home as a child. 

“I think it is easy for us in the community to think people are experiencing homeless because they are lazy or do not want to work,” says Steve Matteson, Director of Ministry Partnerships at Hope. “The honest answer is people come to Hope because they have lived a life of pain and trauma and what has happened in their past influences how they deal with life now.”

“God got a hold of me, and he has not stopped since,” says Bogunia. “I was one of the homeless people on the streets lots of people see and judge them, do not judge them because they might be the one to save your child someday, thank you Hope Ministries and all people who volunteer and donate or I would not be here.”

Learn how to donate to Hope Ministries here.

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