From the Director ~ April 2024

Dear Friends,

As I write this, the Mission is perking along nicely. All of our beds are full, and we have a waiting list of several men looking to enter our New Life Program. Of our 53 residents, twelve are currently employed and saving up as they prepare to move out into their own place in a few short months. Fourteen men are actively job searching, and two are enrolled in a culinary training program at Philabundance Community Kitchen. The rest are in what we call the Foundations Phase of our program as they work to sharpen their educational, vocational, and life skills in preparation for employment, graduation, and successful independent living.

Each of these men, from the youngest (at 24 years old) to the oldest (at 73), has his own life story filled with unique challenges, skills, dreams, goals, and experiences. One challenge many of our men face as they launch into their job search is their age. Seventy percent of our current residents are 50 years old or older. Twelve of them are over sixty. Finding a decent new full-time job as an older adult has its challenges. Our men also face other barriers to employment like past incarceration, a spotty work history, or an incomplete education. We cannot go back to change the past, but we can certainly work hard to help our men compensate for these challenges by providing resources, training, and practical experiences that equip them for the uphill battle.

We provide things like professional clothing and shoes, internet access, carfare, and letters of reference. Our training focuses on Adult Basic Education (basic instruction in reading, writing, and math that’s geared toward adult learners), computer skills, and a myriad of topics related to getting a job and keeping it. As essential as all of those things are, I think the strength of our work program lies in the opportunity our men have to put it all into practice in a safe, constructive environment by helping out with our thrift stores, food service operation, facilities upkeep, and the like. As they do so, program participants are simultaneously building their resumes with relevant work experience while also getting constructive real-time feedback from work supervisors. Check out what Chris, DJ and James have to say about our work program and how it’s preparing them for the future. DJ’s motivation to persevere in finding and keeping a good steady job comes in the form of his five-year-old daughter. He had the joy last week of taking her to Chuck E. Cheese for her 5th birthday (as I told DJ, that’s exactly what my parents did for me for my 5th birthday – a fun choice indeed!).

Thank you for investing in the careers and lives of men like Chris, DJ and James. The impact of your gifts stretch beyond individual men to their families and communities, and we are all the richer for it. The Lord’s richest blessings to you and yours!

Grace and peace,

Heather L. Rice, D.Min.
Executive Director

Executive Director, Heather Rice with the daughter of a Mission graduate who came back with his family to visit.
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