Pastor Manuelus Reacco takes a tough love approach to help men with troubled pasts turn their lives around.
He says, "Some guys don't have jobs. Their hopes and spirits are down. We bring them in. We encourage and lift them up. We give them like a week to find a job, and they find jobs within a week."
Pastor Reacco opened the Transformation House in downtown Green Bay four years ago. Since then, he's provided a warm place to stay for more than 400 men, many of whom were turned away from other shelters because of criminal backgrounds.
Robert Neely says, "I was one of the ones that came in with no money and alcohol on my breath, and Pastor told me, he said, 'Come back tomorrow and blow clean on this breathalyzer,' and that's what I did, and he let me in."
Neely quickly learned that Transformation House is much more than a roof over your head. It's a life-changing, faith-based, no-nonsense type of program. Those who stay in one of the house's 30 beds, must pay a $75 weekly fee, do chores, and volunteer in the soup kitchen or food pantry. They must also have outside employment and remain sober. The program provides counseling for alcohol and drug addiction, anger and stress issues, and offers money-management classes. It has helped Fadrian Smith rebuild his life.
"Actually gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my kids again. I've been a part of their lives for like the last week and been pretty busy with teenagers."
He's also attending Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. He's working on a degree in business management.
"I have actually been able to get back in school, stay focused, become president of a special club at school, thanks to my professor, and so I'm doing pretty good because of Transformation House."
William Daniels is another success story.
"I didn't have a vehicle. Where I work, it's four miles from here. I used to walk back and forth everyday. Now, I have a car," he laughed.
Watching these men overcome adversity, inspires Pastor Reacco.
"That's what keeps me going, because there's no pay. It's all volunteer, and every time you get ready to give up, you see somebody's life being transformed."
Neely is grateful for the guidance to get back on track.
"Being arrogant and everything, not having humility, I have that now, and I work on it everyday."
The men say, they're now empowered to regain their independence and contribute to our community.
Transformation House relies on donations to stay open, but Pastor Reacco says they're struggling financially right now. He's inviting the public to attend a banquet on Thursday, May 26th at 5:30pm at Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay. Former Packers Coach Harry Sydney will be the keynote speaker. Former Packer Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will also speak at the event.
Click here for more information.