1st graduate of Lufkin Dream Center: 'My mind is blown by how faithful God is'

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - After a year of rehabilitation an East Texas woman has turned her life around and is the first graduate of the Lufkin Dream Center.

The Dream Center offers residents a year-long, faith-based program to help them overcome various addictions.

A year ago, 41-year-old Dawn Strope she walked in the Lufkin Dream Center angry, broken and lost. Today, she has a different story

"My mind is blown by how faithful God is." Strope said.

On Friday, Strope, who is the first graduate of the Dream Center's 12-month program, was surrounded by friends, family, and mentors.

"We've seen the hard work," said Billie Jean Johnson, the founder of the Lufkin Dream Center. "We've seen her become a leader and we know she's going to do very well."

Johnson said residents in program complete curriculum and contract work focused on getting their lives back on track after struggling with addiction.

"Anywhere from how to make a bed, making menus, to how to do a budget, create a resume and get a job," Johnson said.

Strope said she's started drinking at the age of eight.

"I felt weird. I felt out place and when I drank, I didn't feel the awkwardness," Strope said. "I pursued that for about 24 years and it almost destroyed me alcohol was my God."

Until she decided to make a change, Strope says her time at dream center helped her refocus her life and her relationship with God.

"He's given me new desires, new dreams, and new hope," Strope said.

For Strope, her new dream is in the kitchen and she's using her passion for the Center's Feed the Dream program.

"To give the girls skills and tools, learn how to do budgets, and learn how to shop and  learn to cook," Strope said.

Johnson says the road to recovery is different for every resident, and they all have their struggles.

"Around three or four months this get really hard because people are getting clear headed and they think, Well, I've got this," Johnson said.

But Strope says she was in it for the long haul.

"I tried to leave, and God's like, 'No you've got a purpose here,'" Strope said.

Now that she has graduated, Strope is looking up and moving forward.

"In the end, its going to be beyond your wildest imagination," Strope said.

The Feed the Dream program is going to start up in a few weeks. It is a take and bake program where residents will cook made to order food and all the proceeds will go towards the Dream Center.

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