Meet Sandra Maple-Deaver, a recuperative care director who works with the homeless, and people with addiction to restore them to a life of dignity.
A compassionate human and a Navy Veteran, Sandra is a 46-year-old woman with children. She has recently celebrated seven years of sobriety from addiction.
According to Sandra, coming to the mission was one of the best things that have happened to her. Here, she formed a relationship with God and came out of her 20 years of addiction. Joining the mission has made her passionate about working for the homeless, and now she believes that it is God’s calling. She elaborates, “Working at a faith-based non-profit organization allows me to try and reach the unreachable, and possibly show them that there are still some people who care in this world. When I plant the seed of hope in an individual, it brings great joy to my world. Being a leader to guide others is one of the hardest things I strive to be better at daily.“
Sandra’s mission, The Gospel Center Rescue Mission (GCRM), is a ministry to the people of San Joaquin County where the homeless and addicted in the community are presented the opportunity for spiritual, physical, and emotional restoration through the love of Jesus Christ. GCRM offers several programs like New Life Program, Emergency Housing, Community Feeding, Disaster Refugee Relief, Clothing PLUS Program, etc., to help these people in need.
Sandra oversees the team of ‘Recuperative Care’ that aids the homeless who have been discharged from area hospitals, but still need further shelter while healing from an acute ailment. Her program offers 24-hour shelter beds to homeless individuals who are too well to be in the hospital, but are too sick to recuperate on the streets while completing their medical recovery after being released from hospitals throughout San Joaquin County. The care provided under Sandra’s leadership is as warm as would be expected from a family member. Talking about her duties here, Sandra says, “God’s will is my salvation, and giving people the chance to know God is the greatest reward I can receive.”
Sandra’s journey has not been one without obstacles. She elaborates, “Not believing in myself and not feeling worthy were two of my biggest hurdles. I used to feel that I did not have anything to offer to make a difference in the world, or that I wasn’t up to the tasks put in front of me. But once I was able to get past the feeling of not being capable enough and that my words were not being heard on a stellar level, I was able to advocate better for the individuals that I was trying to serve. Today, my biggest challenge is to make enough impact to help others in need and continue to serve my targeted population“. Sandra believes that her efforts have helped sensitize people who now respond by recognizing the cry for help within the community. This change in attitude of the people where they do not brush off the homeless but aid them to support the work of her organization, has made her feel more confident about her endeavor. Now she knows that she can make an impact on others and play her part in making the world a better place to live.
She advises people to always believe in themselves before they help in boosting the morale of others. She says, “The 3-word phrase, ‘Lead by Example’ is immensely powerful. Treat individuals as human beings and not objects. God loves you even when you do not know how to love yourself, and always remember this to find solace in hard times, so that you overcome your difficulties“