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Flatiron Hot! News | December 15, 2017

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New York City Rescue Mission Helps Troubled Soul Unlock His Full Potential

New York City Rescue Mission Helps Troubled Soul Unlock His Full Potential
Eric Shapiro

Talk to David Butler and he’ll strike you as an articulate man devoted to his family, his faith and his budding career as a fashion model. As the old saying goes, he seems to have his shit together. He is currently interning at the Soho-based Unruly Heir, a purveyor of quirky menswear. He landed the gig after a stunning performance at New York Fashion Week 2013. He’s also participating in a year of intensive training at Brick Crossfit, sponsored by Heidi Burkhart’s Saxon-Hart organization.

With so much going for him, you’d never guess that a short time ago, David was at the end of his rope. Struggling with drug addiction, he had lost custody of his two children. His life was a mess and things seemed hopeless until, in a stroke of good fortune, his caseworker referred him to the New York City Rescue Mission. The first rescue organization in the United States, the Mission offers a variety of programs and resources (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) to help needy individuals get their lives back on track. In addition to material assistance, the New York City Rescue Mission’s residential recovery program provides participants with the skills and guidance they need to better themselves. Most important of all, it fosters a sense of community, reassuring people that they are not alone in their struggles and can lean on each other for help. “As soon as I walked through the door, I felt welcome. I felt like this was my home,” David recalls fondly.


New York City Rescue Mission

New York City Rescue Mission – Photo Credit:


Although accepting of all religious beliefs, the New York City Rescue Mission emphasizes Christian faith as a means for participants to construct a personal support system to work through their issues. “Coming up, I wasn’t really into the Bible. I believed in God but my faith wasn’t really that strong. As I was going through my problems, I prayed a lot more and more I prayed, the more I felt. When I got to [the New York City Rescue Mission], I felt that God had guided me this way.” Suffice to say, David’s time at the New York City Rescue Mission greatly deepened his faith.

In addition to showing individuals how to help themselves, the New York City Rescue Mission program encourages personal growth and empowerment through helping others. David fondly recalls distributing clothing and food to overnight guests. He describes the experience as “bringing out the better person in me.” David graduated from the program on February 6th, 2014, but he remains active in the New York City Rescue Mission. He continues to help out at the shelter, giving back to the program that had such a positive impact on his life.

The New York City Rescue Mission also helps participants in its program to make valuable connections in the professional world. Case in point: the New York City Rescue Mission referred David to Saxon-Hart, a charitable organization that uses fashion and fitness to empower troubled individuals. Saxon-Hart was extremely impressed with David and invited him to participate in a makeover event on March 21st held at Rothman’s, located on East 17th Street in the Flatiron District. There, he had the opportunity to try on and take home a variety of stylish outfits. Currently pursuing a career in modeling, he was in heaven. “It was lovely. I enjoyed every minute of it. I felt like: ‘wow, this is really happening to me.”


David Butler Tries on a New Shirt at Rothman's

David Butler Tries on a New Shirt at Rothman’s

David’s passion for modeling landed him an internship at Unruly Heir, a Soho men’s attire startup, where he’s learning valuable marketing skills while honing his skills as a model. David is still striving to regain custody of his children, whom he loves more than anything in the world. Thanks to the New York City Rescue Mission, Saxon-Hart, Unruly Heir and his own dogged commitment to self-improvement, it’s hard to see how he could fail. David Butler is an extraordinary individual with enormous potential and all evidence suggests that, with his problems under control, he’s just getting started.