A stone home built in 1901 housed a family until the 1970’s, and then raccoons, bats and other critters made their way into its walls. The lathe and plaster were falling in, there was water in the basement and it smelled so bad, yet even this broken down, damaged and almost worthless property held a hidden purpose.
Donated to Choose Life Ministries, Shelley Boyes believed the 160-acre property near Gainsborough had plenty of room to build another home, but the board and God disagreed with her. The house was gutted right back to the stone walls and volunteers were thrilled to discover that the rafters and beams were built from cedar and were in excellent shape. The ceiling was raised, plumbing and electrical installed, donated Bibles were placed inside the walls and scriptures were written on the beams and 2 x 4’s and door posts. This building is now the Homestead for Hope, which offers a six month residential program for women 18 to 29 years of age. The Christian 12-step program teaches life skills, fitness and nutrition and boundaries to women who are seeking freedom from life controlling issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, depression, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancy, physical and sexual abuse and self-harm.
The Homestead of Hope was born from a tragedy in the Boyes family. In 2006 their oldest daughter died in a roll-over on May Long weekend. Their two younger daughters spiraled out of control after their sister’s death, seeking solace in drugs and alcohol. Fearing the loss of one or both of the girls, Shelley searched for help, dragging them kicking and screaming into rehab. They offered a clinical two-week or 30-day fix, but didn’t deal with the heart issues, and no lasting changes occurred. After finding a ministry in the United States that was offering what she was seeking for her girls, Boyes founded Choose Life Ministry and chose similar programming to develop the Homestead for Hope.
To help fund the ministry, Boyes opened Second Chance, which has grown into three thrift stores, located in Carlyle, Estevan and Fort Qu’Appelle. It is estimated that they cycle 200 to 300 items of clothing, household and jewelry per day through each store. Each store employs a full-time manager and 2 to 3 part time staff, along with many volunteers. They sort and display items donated to the store using six different colored tags. Every week a different colored tag goes on sale at half price and then any remaining items are pulled off the racks and donated to Community Living or the Canadian Diabetes Association, ensuring the stock remains fresh and new. The flamboyance of Flamingos that have been found in yards around Carlyle, Redvers and Manor are a part of the fundraising efforts for Homestead for Hope as well.
It truly does appear that everything and everyone benefits from a Second Chance!