From Skid Row to CEO
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“I’m an Angeleno to my core,” says Vaughn, born and raised in Los Angeles. “I love the city, the county, and the state.”
Vaughn entered the Marine Corps after high school, but his life spun out of control after the discovery of his deceased father in an Inglewood public park portable toilet. He died with a needle in his arm.
“I didn’t see it coming,” he says. “I had a psychotic breakdown.”
So began seven years of nomadic, drug-addicted living in and out of shelters.
“I became destitute when I lost my job, selling myself to make money to use drugs and living in deplorable conditions,” Vaughn told Good Morning America in an interview aired in March. “I became invisible. That sense of invisibility, of not being seen, is disastrous.”
But in 1992, he gave his life to the Lord and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. He then checked into a Christian discipleship program.
“I made a covenant with God when He delivered me that if He saved me, I would serve Him for the rest of my life,” Vaughn says.
Vaughn attended a Pentecostal seminary and a state university. He worked in the local Red Cross chapter’s accounting department, where he learned how to handle payroll, accounts payable, and accounts receivable.
“It was a blessing and I met godly people,” he says. “My boss took me under his wing and taught me a lot about finance. Those were formative years for me in understanding how businesses and nonprofits work.”
Today, after serving for two decades in Los Angeles-area AG churches, Vaughn and his wife, Darlene, lead Restoration Family Worship Center and also what he calls “a matrix of programs we connect together harmoniously to achieve a common goal which is the restoration of family and community.” These organizations operate primarily under the umbrella nonprofit Christ Centered Ministries (CCM) and provide an array of services to people coming out of the prison system, suffering from mental illnesses, and escaping sex trafficking. The organizations are financed largely by grants from Los Angeles County and staffed by church attendees.
“I went from Skid Row to CEO, and it’s only by the grace of God and the love of a lot of people,” Vaughn told Good Morning America.
Chandra Williams, 40, chief accounting officer for CCM and a longtime AG adherent, helps operate and oversee the 25 properties where hundreds of residents live and go through community-based recovery.
“We do things with quality and integrity,” Williams says. “Troy knows what it feels like being homeless and coming out of jail. These people deserve the best, just like any other human.”
The organizations have helped pregnant inmates, troubled youths, and people mentally incompetent to stand trial. CCM is now planning to partner with L.A. Metro to send teams to help the homeless who “ride the rails because they don’t want to sleep on the streets,” Williams says.
“We give people the support they need,” Williams says. “We’re second-chancers.”
For the Vaughns, it all comes down to making families stronger.
“The core of what we do is restore families and make worship the center,” Vaughn says. “Darlene and I try to exemplify what family looks like, living transparently in front of the flock.”
He points to high retention numbers among graduates of their outreach programs.
“It’s working at so many different levels — the spiritual, social, and physical — because people are getting jobs and becoming more socialized,” he says. “We are taking people who were dealing in isolation with their issues. We create systems to change and address that and use a spiritual framework.”
Vaughn is getting ready to start a Global University satellite campus at the L.A. Mission he now leads.