By Darren Orf, VOX Magazine online
October 21, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST
David Helling doesn’t take anything for granted, especially socks. In January 1998, Helling finished his five-year prison sentence for DWI charges and was left with a shirt, a pair of underwear and one pair of socks. Within 12 years, he received a master’s degree in social work, became a director of a therapeutic community and an adjunct instructor at Columbia College and has two full, color-coded drawers of socks.
He gives hope to many in his community by working with Phoenix Programs Inc., a local recovery clinic that serves 1,500 to 2,000 clients annually. Helling is a board member for the Missouri Recovery Network and is also on the transformation committee for the Missouri Department of Mental Health in Jefferson City. He directs several housing programs and helps residents improve their mental health, get jobs and become reunited with their families. At Columbia College, Helling teaches about topics such as social services, substance abuse, case management and how to work with families.