God told me on October 26, 2017 at about 6:15 AM to start a project to aid drug addicts and recovering addicts in both outside-the-box and inside-the-box ways. My response was, "I can't do that. I don't even know where to start."
The Idea, from God
The idea of helping recovering addicts in ways primarily outside-the-box filled my mind that morning as I was waking up. I tried to dismiss the idea, but could not. It kept growing, getting more real with each tick of the clock. I finally gave up on forgetting it and started trying to decide what I as meant to do. I had just provided dentures to a loved one. She is a long-time now-recovering drug addict. The dentures greatly improved her appearance, her self-confidence, and her hire-ability. I could do things like that for others, except I couldn't afford to do it very often. It would take more money than I would ever have to really help. It would take skills I don't have. What help could I provide? How could I get the money? How would I provide help without risking the money? What do I do about encouraging those trying to move Forward? How do I acknowledge success? Questions kept coming. Answers were almost non-existent.
A Web Site, the Focal Point
In the days that followed I decided a web site would serve as the focal point of the effort whatever activity resulted. The site could receive donations and use them to help recovering addicts. Whoa! They could take the money and use it to buy drugs. I realized I had to come up with a way to directly pay the provider if the recovering addict made the effort to see the provider. What else; maybe paying fines, fines sometimes cause drivers licence suspensions. Clothes for a job interview could help. There were others such as tuition, temporary rent, food, rewards for success? Questions kept coming. Again, answers were almost non-existent.
"I can't do this," I told God.
"Yes you can," the voice in my head kept answering. After many arguments with God over many weeks, I finally gave up. I realized God was telling me I had to do it.
Thus began the productive thinking.
Adding Flesh to the Bones
During the following year, besides still trying to escape doing it, I found myself thinking about what it should be and do. I used the help I had given Corinne as the model for what now had to do in a greatly expanded way. Her big smile enhances her radiance and encourages me to keep going.
I decided the project needed to stand alone, disconnected from me as much as possible. That suggested a non-profit company as the umbrella for all of it.
The company could do it all, mostly through the web site. The web site would be its focal point for all the activities. To be that, it had to appeal to both those in need and those willing to help.
What then did the web site need to do? It needed to post success stories and perhaps keep track of clean time and reward it for those moving Forward. It could also express sorrow for those passing on and those temporarily falling back. It could recognize givers and donors, (Friends) anonymously or by name. It could post words and articles encouraging everyone. It could also announce rewards given to those achieving milestones along the way. Also, the company had to be financially transparent. Thus the web site had to periodically report income, assets, gifts, and expenses.
Thoughts About Money
Okay, how could the company get the money? The site needed ways to ask for and accept donations. I daily receive letters and emails from charities asking for donations, They often include greeting cards, calendars, or trinkets, counting on a guilt feeling to obtain money. I give to only a few, believing, perhaps wrongly, that many are more interested in helping themselves and their fundraisers than they are in benefiting their stated causes. I did not want this effort to be thought of that way. I wanted the gifts to this effort to come from the heart, not to pay for trinkets, gimmicks and calendars because of that guilt feeling. The site had to provide for on-line gifting by all methods and also a way to receive snail mail checks. A Post Office box was needed. Also, when money comes to the company it needs a place to keep it, a bank account.
Recovering addicts know perhaps better than I, that money cannot be given directly to them. The relapse risk is too high. With money to spend, the temption for "one more" is too great. That meant the company had to pay providers, doctors dentist, attorneys, courts, and municipalities. A credit card might be the answer, perhaps electronic transfer.
The Site Needs a Name; the Company Needs a Name
Early during the formative year, I realizes the site and the company needed a name. The first name I thought of was “Reach for the Star” but that didn't seem right. It also seemed too long. Next came "Forward with Friends." Then over several weeks came several more such as "A Brighter Future with Friends," "Bright Future with Friends," "Bright Future," "Brighter Future," "The Brightest Future."
Over and over, "Forward with Friends" kept cropping up. I came to believe God had given His stamp of approval to it. I stopped searching for a name.
The domain name, forwardwithfriends.org was available so I obtained it. That is how it is and will be as long as I am on this earth and hopefully long after.
I contacted an attorney to help create the non-profit organization to operate and manage the effort. The Articles of Organization for Forward with Friends, LLC was submitted to the Kentucky Secretary of State. Several steps later Forward with Friends, LLC was recorded by the Lewis County Kentucky Clerk. The record is dated June 6, 2019.
We here at Forward With Friends want you to move Forward. We cannot pull you or push you Forward. Only you, step by step, can do that. We will be on the sidelines, cheering you on, applauding when you reach milestones, giving a helping hand when it's needed, feeling sadness when you stumble, and crying when you fall.
to be your friend and we want you to move forward. What’s more, we want to help you do just that. We want to help in ways that may not be available to others. Need examples? A winning smile goes a long way when applying for a job.
Outstanding fines often limit mobility and
At this time, we cannot help materially. We hope to soon. All we can offer is moral support and encouragement. Others have succeeded and so can you.
Some have failed, but we will be here when they try again. they can try
We here at Forward With Friends want to be your friend and we want you to move forward. What’s more, we want to help you do just that. We want to help in ways that may not be available to others. Need examples? A winning smile goes a long way when applying for a job.
On April 10, 2019 I purchased the one year rental of P. O. Box 204 in the Vanceburg post office for Forward with Friends, LLC.
Lloyd Spear helped me obtain a Federal Identification on June 5, 2019. Forward with Friends was given Employer Identification Number (EIN). 84-1991760.
Today, June 6, 2019, I presented Forward with Friends, LLC to the Lewis County clerk for recording as official. Also today
I opened checking account 28843 at the Citizens Deposit Bank in Vanceburg, KY.