Category Archives: Newsletters

From A Graduate – Andrew’s Story

Hello. My name is Andrew Zebley, and I am a sober, recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I never thought I would be able to say those words. The plan I had for my life before sobriety was to miserably live out my days on the streets until I was in jail, or if I was lucky, end up dead. But, that isn’t my life anymore. I have been blessed with the right people, circumstances, willingness, and open mindedness to do something different with my life.

Nothing in life made me an alcoholic and a drug addict, but it was the way I dealt with the problems in my life. By the age of 21, I had lost control of my life through the use of drugs and alcohol. I was homeless, living on the streets, and running from legal issues. I had become a liar and a thief. I had accepted my circumstances at the time and thought for sure I was going to die that way. Toward the end of my time using, I found out that my mom was re-diagnosed with cancer and was dying. At this point in my life, I didn’t care about anything but finding a way to escape my reality. I hurt everyone I came into contact with, with little to no regard for their feelings or well being. I started to use up all of my resources. I was running out of options, and knew something had to be done.

I got sober November 7, 2014. I was a 22 year old child with no understanding of responsibility, and no direction for my life. To be honest, I had no idea my journey from that day until now would lead to long term sobriety. When I walked into detox I was dirty and sick, weighing 125 pounds. I never could contently sustain my habit, and it was getting cold and I needed a warm place to stay. I followed suggestions and went to treatment. When finishing my stay at treatment I remember being so scared of leaving because I did not have a plan and I had nowhere to stay. I still had no intentions of staying sober at the time because drinking and doing drugs was the only way I knew how to live. It was suggested that I go to Friendship House, and I was open enough to give it a try.

From the moment I was interviewed at Friendship House, I could tell it was a special place. The counselors really cared about me and they had just met me. It was a place that gave someone like me a chance, even when I felt I didn’t deserve it. I had no idea how I was going to stay sober, let alone work a job, pay bills, handle fines and legal issues. I was truly lost and needed direction.

While at Friendship House I had a healthy dose of structure, and began to build relationships I hold dear to this day. I started working with a sponsor, got connected with other sober alcoholics and a fellowship of people who were also trying to maintain sobriety. I learned the importance of honesty and facing the troubles in my life head on. I learned how to become a functioning member of society and a responsible adult. I planned financially to take steps forward in my life, and after my stay at Friendship House, I moved out with the roommate I had there. We are still best friends to this day.

The life I live today is beyond my wildest dreams. I may not have everything, but I have a positive perspective on my life. I have a solution to deal with everyday problems.

I still hold Friendship House close to my heart. In January of this year, I lost my mother. Within a week, I found myself sitting in Friendship House talking with the counselors and crying. This organization is not just my old halfway house, with counselors and house managers. Friendship House is my family. The staff care so much and I have grown to love them. I still pop in during free moments in my week and I am always so happy I did.

The thing in my life I have the utmost gratitude for is my sobriety. I am also thankful that Friendship house was a part of my story and helped make that possible.

If anyone reading this is struggling, just know, you’re not alone. There is always a hand ready to reach out, all you have to do is ask for help.

Spring Is Just Around The Corner

As the east coast managed it’s fourth nor’easter in March, many people wondered out loud, “Will spring ever come?” I heard many respond with, “Don’t worry, spring is just around the corner.” That reminds me of the children’s story collection about two of my favorite characters, Frog and Toad, created by Arnold Lobel. One story in particular is called “The Corner,” where a grumpy yet loving Toad expresses dread at their ruined day due to cold rain. Frog, with his ever consistent optimism, makes tea and distracts Toad with a story about how his father once explained to not fret because “spring is just around the corner.” This led young Frog on a search around every corner looking for spring.

Why does Frog go looking for spring? Is he not patient in waiting? Or, has he lost hope that spring will come? Maybe he feels he has to find it in order to believe it is actually there.

Many of our clients and residents come to us after looking around corner after corner for their spring, their new life, and often hope that has been lost. They come to us broken from harsh winters of their own: drug addiction, homelessness, abuse. Often these men and women wonder if spring will ever come. It is Friendship Houses’ mission to remind them that spring and new life are always right around the corner.

All too often hope fades away when one is stuck in a dark place and wandering lost in the wilderness. It takes deep faith and hard work to find the best pathway out. Many pathways lead to other dark places, but finding the pathway home is a journey of its own. And it is a journey Friendship House takes with thousands of individuals every year.

For many spring brings the celebration of Easter; a time to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. At Friendship House we experience Easter every day as we work with our clients and witness new life born out of darkness. These moments, although not uncommon for us, are always special and beautiful. They are the moments when a resident hits a milestone—1 week clean, 1 month clean, 1 year clean. Easter for us happens when a client, who has been living in the shadow of her dead daughter’s overdose, lets the past go and whispers, “I am going to be OK.” This miracle happens when a homeless man finally gets a job, then an apartment, and then sees his son for the first time in three years.

At Friendship House, we witness new life no matter the time of year and regardless the weather. We get to be part of someone’s journey as they find a  pathway out of the dark woods where they find spring—just around the corner.

What happened with our friend Frog from the story “The Corner”? As he went around his fourth and final corner, Toad asks his friend Frog, “What did you see?” Lobel writes:

“I saw the sun coming out,” said Frog. “I saw birds sitting in a tree. I saw my mother and father working in their garden. I saw flowers in the garden.”

“You found it!” cried Toad.

“Yes, I found the corner that spring was just around.”

If you find yourself in a dark place, keep faith and remember: Spring is always around the corner.

~ Written by Kim Eppehimer

Our Next Executive Director Is Named!

Friendship House of Delaware is proud to announce that Kim Eppehimer is to be the next Executive Director effective January 1, 2018.

Kim has been working at Friendship House since 2014, after volunteering through Red Clay Creek Church Presbyterian Church for several years.

After working over a decade in the multi- family and low income real estate field as a loan officer, a Vice President, and a software engineer, her family moved to Delaware while she worked from home as a consultant to be with her two young boys.

Once she found work at Friendship House, she knew she found a vocation and a place to call home.

“This is truly an honor. I am humbled to have been chosen for this role and I am committed to both the mission and people of Friendship House,” Kim says.

During her time with Friendship House, Kim has been actively involved at each ministry. From ministering to volunteers at winter sanctuary, mentoring interns, and walking with clients in the suburban empowerment expansion ministry she helped to establish, Kim has developed a knowledge and a passion for each of the ministries.

Kim comes to us with a Masters of Accounting from the University of Maryland, and recently received a certificate in Theology and Ministry from Princeton Seminary and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Delaware.

Bill Perkins, who has been serving as Executive Director of Friendship House since 1989, is pleased with this choice. “Ever since Kim began volunteering at Friendship House, it was clear she has the passion to serve the homeless and our community, as well as the capability of running such an organization. I could not be more pleased with the selection of Kim as Executive Director. As we celebrate our 30th year of operation and move into the next phase, Kim will be the kind of leader that can continue the mission of Friendship House.”

Marc Marcus (Assistant Executive Director and Director of Day Ministry), Marcy Perkins (Director of Transitional Housing), and Kathy Graham (Director of the Clothing Bank), are in agreement with Bill. “Kim will be a wonderful Executive Director. We are looking forward to continuing to work with her and supporting her in her new role.”

Please join us at our annual meeting Sunday, April 23 to congratulate Kim!
Annual Meeting Details
12:00 PM: Open House at Friendship House Admin Office
1503 W. 13th Street, Wilmington DE
1:30 PM: Annual Meeting at Westminster Presbyterian Church
1506 W. 13th Street, Wilmington DE