Alyssa's Story

Before I came to the House of Hope, my life was a lot of chaos. I was in a really bad custody dispute with my daughter’s dad. I was on drugs. I’d go to court not in the right state of mind. My life was just pure insanity. It was never a good day. And I just wanted my daughter. 

My life came to a point where I just needed to surrender. I felt like I was losing everything. When I started in my addiction, I had a house and a car. And I slowly started to lose everything. I lost my marriage. My daughter was the last thing I was going to lose and I didn’t want that happen.

I’ve never lost custody of her but I felt like I was going to lose her, so I had to do something to make sure that didn’t happen, so I came here. My daughter lives with my mom because her father is currently in his addiction. My mom has temporary custody of her. She’s in a good, safe place. 

I was losing myself completely. I didn’t want to lose her to the point where I have to do everything that the court wanted me to, to get my daughter back.

I’ve been in the program 5 months now. I have a lot of support here. I’m seeing what God is doing in my life now. My daughter is growing and I get to experience it with her. She loves to come to “Mommy’s house”. We have our time together. And I go visit her on passes. We’re creating memories and I’m finally having playtime with her in a sober mind. Playing hide and seek sober is a different experience than before. It wears me out, but it’s a good tired. I’m so drained, but so happy. I’m just filled with all this great love.

My daughter is 3. She’s a character. She is very smart, she understands that mommy lives at “Jesus’s house”. That makes her feel so much better that I’m in a place that she knows I’ll be here when she comes. To have the family support that I have, feels so good. I don’t feel like I can’t be her mom. For a long time I felt like I couldn’t take care of her, but I’m starting to feel empowered to be the mom I know I can be. I’m here for myself, but with her in mind.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.