Learning to smile.

Abuse. Addiction. Prison. He never smiled. Until he found out he was loved.

Kenith was raised in Texas by an abusive father.

“My father used to call me stupid,” Kenith said. “He would go on his rampages- a very violent man- I would run to my closet, shut the door, and draw pictures of buildings I had seen. That’s how I escaped most of his wrath.” At least until he came out to face his father’s belt.

His childhood hurt led him to addiction, which held him in bondage for 15 years. Finally, forgery landed him in prison and for 190 days Kenith was in solitary confinement. Following his release he wanted a degree in Architecture but relapsed and lost job after job. After 10 years of rehab Kenith wanted a spiritual overhaul so he went online, found the Bread of Life Mission in Seattle and got on a bus. Upon arrival, Kenith entered the Life Change Program.

“There was something about this program. It was going a lot deeper. It was harder than I thought it was going to be. I have a hard time forgiving myself. That explains why I don’t smile. I don’t really smile.”

During the past year, Kenith completed each stage of the Life Change Program. Within the last four months he worked at UPS part-time and attended the Art Institute of Seattle. Kenith graduated from Life Change in February 2016 and moved to Arizona to participate in an internship at an architectural firm. Concurrently, he will continue his schooling at the Art Institute of Arizona.

“I’m slowly starting to like myself,” he realizes. “Because I’m loved.”