2023 October #2
By a Joy Junction Staff Member (JBF)
As a person goes through their teenage years and begins to plan out and dream about their ideas for their future as an adult, it’s hard for us to imagine that they would “dream” of becoming homeless. It’s most likely not anyone’s plan or goal to become someone who is homeless or who has to depend on others for their next meal.
But, life has a way of turning things around when we least expect it. There are all kinds of reasons for why someone has fallen into a homeless situation. But, after that happens, what are the options for them?
Some simply do not know that there ARE options. They may ask friends or family for help with a place to stay for a while, or maybe they have no one to turn to and choose to stay out on the street feeling terrified of what will happen to them. Some of those people know about us, but some have never heard of us.
Sometimes, being on the street allows them to hear about us – a shelter that keeps families together and works to help them transition back into the workforce. Sometimes, their family or friends may know about us, as well. No matter the means of how they find out about us, we are just glad they did.
For those who come to our facility for help, we know they need food and shelter. That’s a given. But, after that, what more do they need from us? Each person is different and has individual needs.
From the beginning of setting up our shelter, we have worked hard not to turn a blind eye to the needs of those who have lost pretty much everything. We provide a classroom environment where our programs can be taught, which allows our guests to interact with others in the same situation.
Believe it or not, that’s a huge comfort. Sometimes, being homeless causes the person to “mark” themselves as unworthy. They are ashamed and embarrassed to be in the position they are in. But, when they are around others who are hurting as they are, they can form a common bond with them and feel more at ease with their current homeless status. Being in a safe environment helps, as well.
Our programs are formatted in a way to help our guests realize how precious they are. They are loved. They are worthy of help. They are a valuable part of this world.
It’s important to us to be able to provide the resources needed to encourage them as they move along their journey. Our goal is to help each person transition out of their current state of homelessness into a wonderful new path in life.
Many times, in all walks of life, people do not realize their full potential. We want to help bring out the best in them and open up their minds to opportunities they did not know were possible.
It’s up to them to decide what avenue they will take, but during the period of time when they are mulling over the possibilities, we hope to fill their minds and hearts with positive options. We do not want anyone to feel their only option is to give up. We want them to feel important enough to fight for a bright, new future.
One of our male guests had this to say:
“I was relieved to be able to find help in a family-centered homeless shelter.
After arriving at the shelter, I chose to join the Christ in Power Program and worked hard, knowing that was the best way to begin transforming my life’s patterns. I graduated from the program and was eager to move on with my life, but was not sure which avenue would be best for my future.
When I heard that a new computer lab was going to be opened for the residents to use, I jumped at the chance to try to change the direction my life was going. I knew that having an income was the only way I would be able to get a place of my own.
I went to the lab as often as I could and was taught how to use a program to write my resume by the computer lab supervisor. Then, she showed me how to look for job openings on the internet. When I located several of them, the supervisor instructed me on how to upload my resume to the particular employment locations I was interested in.
Within two weeks, I began having interviews scheduled. I was so glad to be given the opportunity to use the computer lab because it allowed me to be able to show myself in a professional way to a company. That was very important to me. I was taught basic computer skills, which will be useful in my future – no matter what job I take.
Being able to learn how to use the computer caused me to gain respect for myself. It gave me a positive attitude and helped me feel like I am being a responsible person for my future. I feel like I can succeed in life now.”
Our staff members work hard to lift the spirits of our guests as they contemplate a positive change. Change is not always an easy thing to go through, but it is definitely needed for the “old” way of life to become a “new” way of life…habits and all. Our resources are vital to the process of helping our guests move forward into a beautiful new beginning.
It all starts with choosing to have a positive outlook on a possible new life, with a new belief system.