HOLLAND, Mich-The holiday season is a time for family, friends and giving back. We may donate our time to a soup kitchen or bring an unopened toy for children in need. But one West Michigan non profit aimed at keeping convicted felons clean and out of prison, got a gift they never saw coming.
Handling donations for 70x7 Life Recovery, is something Marybeth Sims the organization's donor relations manager, is used to.
On Wednesday morning, she found an envelope on the floor in her office.
"I started to read it and I started to cry," Sims said.
It was an anonymous letter from a 70x7 graduate.
"'All of you planted a seed in me, you continue to water it even when I didn't. You believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself," Sims read. "'70x 7 altered the entire course of my life, this golden seed, can only be a token of my appreciation.'"
The golden seed is worth more than $1,200.
"Attached to this letter is a one ounce gold piece," Sims said. "We talk about it all the time, you just need the faith of a mustard seed, we talk about seeds all the time."
It was a humble gift during the holiday season.
"The core of the addiction of this disease is obsession, compulsion and self centered-ness and we have to change how we think, to get out of one's self like this is pretty incredible," Sims said.
Sims knows all about the process. She is a convicted felon.
"I've been clean for 18 years," Sims said. "I got clean on my 41st birthday in 2000."
Like the author of this letter, Sims invested herself into 70x7.
"We are an organization of second, third, fourth, 70x7 chances," Sims said. "The recidivism rate for the country is in the 50's percent, the state of Michigan's is in the 30's but if you go through the 70x7 life recovery, our recidivism rate is 4.6 percent and it's pretty hard to argue with that."
It's times like these that makes Sims remember why she's here.
"Self care is something that we're supposed to do but it's hard and we try to encourage each other, but this, this gave us all just an amazing lift this uplifted all of us that we made a difference and that was incredible," Sims said.
To learn more about 70x7, click here. The organization just expanded into Kent County.
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