By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
New beginnings… New opportunities… New plans… New chances…
Aren’t those the thoughts, as well as others, that come to mind each time a new year begins?
Often, New Year’s resolutions are brought up in conversation with family and friends with words like: “I’m going to lose weight this year!” or “I’m going to pay off my credit card debt this year!” or “I’m going back to college to finish my degree this year.”
Most of us use that first-of-the-year marker as a date to begin a fresh start – in whatever area of our lives we feel needs some adjusting. We intend to carry on in our regular life’s schedule and give ourselves a little boost in a new direction…but usually not in a big, life-altering way.
While those are wonderful intentions, they are not what people who have experienced homelessness think about. The majority of them do want a life-altering change.
Being without a home and experiencing hunger on a daily basis, is a very scary situation. Each day brings new concerns or fears. The goal, or New Year’s resolution, for the homeless is to find shelter each night, find food at least once a day, and find someone who has enough compassion for them to offer some kind of help.
That’s where we come in. We have a heart for helping to meet the most basic needs of our guests first, then we offer them a way to move past that to a point where they can seek employment and a place of their own.
Changing lives is our goal. We have a nine-month life recovery program that helps people come to terms with who they are in God’s eyes. The program works within a Bible-based study to guide people toward changing their outlook on life. Their situation, sometimes, is the catalyst that God uses to cause them to refocus and redirect.
Many of our guests have graduated from the program and gone on to find employment and housing of their own, feeling free of the bondage (addictions, harmful behaviors, bad choices, etc.) that had enslaved them.
Finding a way to remove the “shackles” of a very hard life is sought by many of those who come to us. Our life recovery program uses 12 steps to help them overcome certain obstacles that were instrumental in causing their homeless situation.
With permission, we have adapted the following 12-steps used in a similar program:
- We admitted that we were powerless over our problems and that our lives had become unmanageable.
- We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.
- We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.
- We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Of course, there are some who are not ready to make such a life-altering change, by participating in our program. We do not require our guests to join the program. We still make sure they have their needs met, though, and we encourage them to move forward in whatever positive way works best for them.
In order for us to be able to offer aid to those who have so little, we need outside help. That means we need funds to purchase food and to pay for the many options we offer the homeless. In addition to the shelter, food, clothing, and programs we offer those who come to us, we also send our Lifeline of Hope mobile truck around the city each day. It provides food, beverages, hygiene items, blankets, coats, and other things to help those on the streets who’ve lost just about everything – or, to help those who have a home, but not enough income for food or other items.
Will you be a part of changing lives? Besides a monetary donation, there are other ways you can help. We need volunteers on a daily basis to perform various assignments around the shelter campus. We also take in donated vehicles which are repaired to be resold, or used for our transportation services at our shelter and/or thrift store. Please check out our website for other ideas at www.joyjunction.org.
Changing lives…that’s what we do! Will you help us?