On August 29th, 1969 a 14-year-old girl gave birth to a premature baby boy. In the beginning, this young woman was able to care for her baby with the help of her mother. However, within the first three years of her baby’s life her mother passed away, leaving her to fend for her own life as well as the life of her son, Mark.
Mark’s mother continued to care for him the best she could; dropping him off at daycare.. Over time, Mark’s mother would fail to pick him up often until the day he realized she was never coming back.
After being adopted by the couple who cared for him during the day, Mark finally had a stable support system and grew very close to his adoptive father. However, this solidity did not last and once again Mark was faced with abandonment and grief upon the death of his the only father figure he had ever known. As a result of her grief, Mark’s adoptive mother turned to alcoholism and Mark himself became consumed with anger and frustration.
The feelings and behaviors that resulted from this continued abandonment and frustration ultimately forced Mark down a destructive path during the 1980s, a time where Denver saw an increase in gang presence. In the summer of 1986 , after having been in multiple placements, Mark was placed at Third Way Center at the age of 16. During his time with Third Way Center, Mark was an instigator, thriving off of the ability to create drama between fellow residents. His habits continued until the day David Eisner sternly challenged him to change his behavior or be kicked out of the program.
As a result, Mark began channeling his anger and frustration into exercise while living at Third Way Center. Mark would run for miles until he felt the burden of his anger lifted. From this, Mark developed a passion for track. He became a star athlete in high school which turned into a full ride scholarship to Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
With the help of Dave Eisner, Renee Johnson, Lenora Rodgers and the entire Third Way Center Staff, Mark has broken the intergenerational cycle of abandonment he faced so that he may provide the best life possible for his family. Mark is happily married to his college sweetheart and has three beautiful, successful children. Today, Mark is the Senior Lead Grants Management Specialist of FEMA and a hero from Third Way Center. Since sitting down with Third Way Center to tell his story, Mark has worked tirelessly to help those in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate.