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Donna Ireland

Nevada Leadership

I was adopted when I was 6 weeks old. My childhood had its challenges. I am Native American and part African American. My parents that adopted me are Caucasian. I experienced prejudice and feelings of not belonging at a young age. My parents are Christians, but my dad struggled with alcoholism. Although my family seemed healthy on the outside; nice cars, good schools, vacations, and church twice a week, we were dysfunctional. In middle school, I turned to my friends who also had dysfunctional homes, for comfort.

It was then I started to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol. My drug and alcohol use continued through my teens. When I was 22 I gave birth to a beautiful son. I was a single parent, but I managed to work and take care of my son. Sadly my alcoholism increased and I was unwilling to surrender to Jesus. I was in unhealthy relationships and put myself and my son in dangerous situations. My alcohol and drug addiction became severe. Custody of my son was taken from me through the state Florida and my parents adopted him. Around this time my father quit drinking alcohol and rededicated his life to Jesus. You would think this would have woke me up, but it didn’t. I ended up homeless by choice for almost four years. My family begged me to get help, but I chose the streets and addiction.

In February 2008 after 4 years of homelessness, alcoholism and drug addiction, I finally agreed to get help. My parents took me to a drug and alcohol detox center. I weighed 90 pounds, and I was in a wheelchair for the first week due to weakness. My parent’s friends heard the Hoving Home choir sing at a church in New Jersey. They told my parents about it. When I first heard of the home I was reluctant, because I was not sure if I wanted to change my ways. April 2008 I gave the home a chance and God radically changed my life. I surrender my will and my life to Jesus.

After completing one year at the Hoving Home I interned there through the Emerging Leadership Program. I then went on to Bible School for 2 years. In 2015 I became a Christian Alcohol & Drug Addiction Counselor. The greatest gift God has given me through my sobriety and Salvation in Christ is restoration with my son. My son and I have a good relationship and I know it is only because of the grace of God and my sobriety.

My favorite scripture is Jeremiah29:11- “For I know I have the plans I have for you” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This is my favorite scripture because God’s plans never seize to amaze me.  I have two books on my nightstand, the Bible and Touching Godliness through Submission by K.P. Yohannan. One of my favorite memories of the Hoving Home is participating in the 50th anniversary conference for Teen Challenge. The event changed my life. My favorite food is chocolate. What makes me laugh the most is reminiscing on conversations, hearing his voice always brighten my day.