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Instilling Change: Chris Hedden

A loving family is said to make all the difference. Growing up in a family where support was prevalent and a way of life, Chris was surrounded by love. Even though Chris had no father in his childhood home, he and his brothers were able to spend a few summer visits and Christmas celebrations with their father. It was on one of these visits that Chris was introduced to methamphetamine at the young age of eleven. According to Chris, this was when his life became a train wreck.


From age eleven to seventeen, Chris made more bad choices than good. So much so, that he no longer recognized himself.  In high school, Chris completed a career assessment which indicated that he would be a good fit for law enforcement or for a fire fighter. Upon hearing this, Chris dropped out of school. He did not trust the police as he felt they never helped protect his mother from domestic violence. Life continued to be hell on earth for Chris.


On one fateful day at the age of 17, Chris was incarcerated in Texas on gun charges and possession of controlled substances. He would spend a total of 17 years incarcerated between Texas and Missouri. Chris stayed to himself while in prison and spent his time reading his Bible and self-help books. He also enrolled in some classes. One class called “Overcomers and Changes” proved helpful for his vision of the future. Realizing his mistakes from his past, Chris focused on his faith and prayed for deliverance.


Chris was finally released from a lengthy incarceration and found out about the Second Chance Program from his Parole Officer. Chris needed help redefining himself in Kansas City which included maintaining sobriety and creating a positive support system that would ensure he could maintain employment. He created a lifelong bond with his Resource Specialist at Second Chance, who he credits daily. His Resource Specialist became somewhat of a life coach, constantly reassuring him he could succeed, even when he felt he could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Currently, Chris is a Foreman at Aspen Paper Products and spends his time giving back to the recovery community as a House Manager at the Rise & Shine Foundation. He says the most helpful part of his experience with Second Chance was the constant support and reassurance from his Resource Specialist. He is most proud of his recovery and knows that if he can do it, anyone can. He accredits his savings account and roof over his head as a blessing from the Lord. Chris continues to work on his credit score and has no desire to use or abuse drugs again.


If he could give advice to someone going through what he has been through, Chris would tell them to, “Give their life to Christ and everything else will fall into place. Be obedient and have faith in God’s promises.” He attributes a specific Bible verse to his transformation, “For I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” -Philippians 4:13

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