One Summer night, June 13, 2012, a young man by the name of Deondre Kelley entered A Little Bit of Heaven from a referral in the community to seek shelter after having served 17 years in prison. When Deondre entered the Agency, he had one shoe on and one sock without the other shoe. He appeared to be wore, torn, dirty, hungry, and disoriented. At this time, Mr. Kelley went through the intake process and shared with the director of Case management that he suffered with diabetes, High blood pressure, high cholesterol, neuropathy, and addition.
This 44-year-old young man was a Time Bomb!!! Deondre was given a bed, food, and clean clothes with a matching pair of shoes. As the Agency does have rules, regulations and policies which include exiting the program each morning, Deondre was afraid to leave the Agency and asked could he be of service around the grounds, at the time of his entry, A little bit of heaven was undergoing renovations and Deondre pitched in, Ms. Braxton observed his work ethics over a period of time and allowed Deondre to stay in daily.
This was also a way to keep Mr. Kelley from the dangers of the community and to keep his sobriety, because now Deondre wanted to be sober. He found an Agency that he grew to love and wanted to help along with helping himself at the same time. Along this journey, Deondre relapsed and began entering his journey back into the world of addition. Ms. Braxton observed the behavior and had found great compassion for this young man, so she met with her staff to find a treatment facility, out of the community, talked with Deondre and it was agreed upon on February 11, 2014 that he would enter Gateway Foundation’s substance abuse program for a period of 28 days.
Once Deondre completed the 28-day program he graduated to the Gateway Kedzie house where Ms. Braxton and Deacon Johnson supported him financially for Deondre’s extended stay of 9 months. Deacon Johnson was a mentor for Mr. Kelley a whom he met at St. James Missionary Baptist Church.
After completing the program, Deacon Johnson took to Deondre and hired him to do landscaping at some of his rental properties. Following the 12 step program, Deondre took action to re-establish himself by acquiring a valid Driver’s License, a birth certificate, a medical card and snap benefits with the help of the Director of Case Management form ALBOH, Deondre was so determined to stay sober, and a sign of his determination was when he started to spend his earnings on his personal necessities.
He then started to purchase equipment including the purchase of his first car (a Buick) once achieving sobriety. He has acquired his own home as of today. Deondre has returned to ALBOH, as a volunteer since 2015, to continue to help the Agency that helped him find his life. He is now the proud proprietor of 3P, which is the acronym for Professional people performing. Even today, Mr. Deondre Kelley continues to volunteer weekly and tell his story of recovery to the many men that enter ALBOH looking for help to restore their lives. A Little Bit of Heaven loves Deondre Kelley and we thank God for his restoration. HATS OFF TO DEONDRE KELLEY!! And by the way he has never missed watching a Bears game on TV, He is a BEARS!!! GO BEARS!!!