Relevents: Marchon Noon
Marchon Noon, program coordinator for The Salvation Army’s RISE (Recovering Individuals from Sexual Exploitation) program in Toledo, Ohio, talks about the book of Isaiah, how a long commute can be a blessing in disguise, and answering God’s call to help women recover from life in the streets.
Seven words from the book of Isaiah apply perfectly to the RISE program: This is the way, walk in it. This is my motto for people we help. We offer them a path towards a new life, away from their old life. If they choose to deflect from the new path, then there is nothing we can do. But if they choose that path, rather than judge or condemn them for their choices, we will do everything we can to help them. That is who we are, and who God is.
Every day I walk into work, I say a prayer, “God, let me be the best me that I can be today.” Some days are more difficult than others, when Satan pushes my buttons. I get frustrated with the gaps other organizations have in their service to clients. I feel hurt and angry when I see a woman lose her family over a single solicitation charge, while another woman—found passed out in her car with a needle in her arm—is able to keep her children. But on other days, I feel a rush of joy when I see ladies turn their lives around. That is when I know God has His hand on the RISE program.
I came to work for The Salvation Army after a program called Second Chance collapsed in Toledo. When our full staff came to the Army, we formed RISE. We then had funds and access to the Army’s resources and other programs. Food pantries, diaper banks, and utility and rental assistance became available. RISE continues to grow and we help more women now than ever before.
I’m grateful for my commute. I live an hour away from RISE, and the drive to work and back is my own time. I’m blessed with 60 minutes to prepare for the day, and another 60 minutes to decompress. In my car, I can laugh, cry, sing, think, or say, “Lord, this day is overwhelming me; please take control.” I would not be able to do what I do if I worked around the block from home.
When clients in crisis contact me, I go to them. I’ve rescued women from the street who were naked. When a pimp has control over a woman, she can find herself without even a stitch of clothing on her back. That’s how strong the hold is. When they call RISE, sometimes they’ll say, “You don’t remember me, but you gave me your number a while back, and said to call when I needed you.” When we find women at that level of despair, we give them something they did not have before—a choice to get their life back. What drives me is seeing them make that choice. They go from naked on the corner, to getting their families back, to having a home, to buying a car, to starting a real job. We work through every barrier in their life, from material needs to legal battles, until they are self–sufficient.
interview by Hugo Bravo