Hiing boom When Robinson hit bottom, he was homeless and staying in crack houses in his native Baltimore, “chasing the drug.” One day, he borrowed his grandmother's car for a trip to the store, “I got caught up in the streets and didn't make it back for a week.” His grandmother wound up in the hospital. brought him to visit her. He promised his grandmother he would get help for his addiction, and he did. Left with only $5 in his wallet and three bags full of clothes, he checked into a residential program in Philadelphia. “I knew that once I got in the program, it was just me and God.” Robinson had been a believer all his life, but as his addiction took hold,“I had put God on the shelf. I knew I had to reestablish my relationship with God.” Robinson started going to church regularly, studying the Bible, and praying. He asked God to deliver him from the disease of addiction and, “as time went on, I started getting stronger, spiritually.” Robinson successfully completed treatment at Stop and Surrender treatment center in Philadelphia. He also found a mentor in the center’s founder and CEO, Robinson was too ashamed to face her, but family members

Erwin Wareld. With about six months of sobriety, in 1998 Robinson started doing plumbing and maintenance work for the program, and eventually

In its 18 years of operation, Everything Must Change has helped more than 3,000 clients, with a recidivism rate of less than 20 percent. Robinson is also proud of the fact that, since its inception, Everything Must Change has operated without federal or state funding. Robinson says one of the keys to the success of Everything Must Change has been his collaboration with Dr. Tom Reid, founder and CEO of Southwest NuStop in Philadelphia. “Dr. Reid is my spiritual father,” Robinson says. “He has supported my vision and provided assistance to my program, for which I am grateful.” Since its inception, the program has been based on a philosophy of “spiritual morality and positive reinforcement and the belief that all of God's children deserve to be loved, cared for and prepared to be positive role models for the community,” Robinson says. Looking back at what he's accomplished, Robinson says the most important lesson he has learned is that “when we focus and turn our lives over to God, all things are possible. The key to me staying clean is to never let the spirit of God go. It's about God's will, not mine.”

started his own plumbing business. “I wanted to do something to give back.”

He started renting church vans and started taking people who were early in recovery to work. He started doing street outreach to help people get into treatment, and eventually started paying their intake fees, out of his own pocket. “God had touched my heart and I wanted to do something positive for the program I came out of.” ministry,” which led to Everything Must Change. He began with two sober houses and ve clients. After a year, the program was one of the largest of its kind in Philadelphia, with 270 clients and 14 recovery houses. In the beginning, Robinson also supported himself by doing small plumbing jobs. Eventually he met other tradesmen in recovery, which led to starting his construction company, Dignity Community Construction, which provides jobs for program graduates and helps fund the program. Eventually, “the spirit said I needed to start my own


- Darrell Robinson


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