THE COURAGE TO CHANGE
The Metanoia Project functions at a number of levels. Our primary motive is to provide a place of shelter where homeless individuals can enjoy a nutritious meal, engage with others in companionable friendship and experience a warm, safe place to spend the night.
However this is just one step in a larger process to move our homeless brothers and sisters off the streets. We also seek to build understanding, to establish a relationship of trust and confidence and to work together with our guests which may eventually help them move off the streets into permanent housing.
A key element in achieving this goal is our Courage to Change program which is now in its third full year. This program begins with an honest look at where participants enrolled in the program are currently and what changes need to be in place to enable them to begin to move forward. The key word is begin as most of our guests are simply not ready for even the most basic training program. They lack the awareness, discipline and motivation to understand and implement necessary life changes needed to approach the possibility of employment and permanent housing.
We also realize that in order to achieve any level of change for the participants, we need to look at the mind, the body and the spirit. Change will not come about from just providing an overview of a process. We need to help our guests look inward at themselves, to discover barriers that stem from their lifestyle and to help them address issues of self-esteem and personal confidence. Essentially, we are talking about changes that include lifestyle, values, views, principals, morals and perspectives.
To help accomplish this, the Courage to Change program is divided into two parts: Classroom and field experience. The classroom experience focuses on educating the whole person within an atmosphere of honesty, trust and relationship. The curriculum is designed to help the participants identify their situation, take accountability, set goals and take action in improving the quality of their lives.
Phase 1: THE CLASSROOM
Phase one is a six-week class in which the person is exposed to educational and awareness material consisting of three subject matters:
- Treatment of the mind – Helps the person with recovery from drugs and alcohol.
- Life Skills – helps the participant with goal setting and career choices which in turn helps him/her to break out of old patterns. Also helps students to establish a financial plan and understand the importance of money and how it is to be utilized relative to obtaining permanent housing/living.
- Spirituality – is a Bible class with a distinct focus on God which helps the participants evaluate how God and their spiritual beliefs play an important role in their lives.
The classes are on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings in a designated class room at the Hospitality Center. Each class is from 8pm-9 pm and is led by a team of instructors. Our program manager is the primary coordinator. His support team consists of three facilitators/instructors chosen both for their background in subject matter and their understanding of the population involved and the unique challenges that they face.
- Friday Night – Treatment of the mind (8pm-9pm) is Carl Cook’s story of his own addiction and homelessness leads participants on a challenging journey to discover their own paths to recovery. Topics include: Sobriety, threatening issues, defense mechanisms, denial, anger, acceptance and making a decision to change.
- Saturday Night – Life Skills (8pm-9pm) The leader takes participants through a process that involves a look at life skills, practical necessities in gaining a job, where they currently are in the process of job hunting and what changes may be needed in their lives to become employed. This process is supplanted by outside speakers to discuss subjects such as money management, resume and computer skills, time/organizational skills, balancing a bank account.
- Sunday Night – Spirituality Workshop (8pm-9 pm) Topics include: Prayer and action, forming a personal relationship with God, pride vs. humility, relying on God rather than a quick fix.
After the six week class the participants complete an assessment on the information presented in class. The participants who qualify graduate and receive both a Certificate of Completion and a $100.00 incentive check along with a bus pass.
Graduation takes place at the Hospitality Center before the other guests, workers and volunteers in a manner that highlights the accomplishments of the graduates. Graduates are encouraged to bring family and friends to view the ceremony and congratulate them on the progress achieved.
Phase 2: WORK ETHICS
Each graduate that wants to continue is placed in a six week stipend position that exposes them to the importance of interacting well in the work place. It teaches the attaining and retaining good work habits, setting goals and overall performance of the job. Each stipend worker is assigned a coach who will work with them as they move through the field experience.
At the beginning of Phase 2, each graduate will complete an individual assessment that will then be used to chart his/her progress. Each graduate will be evaluated both during and at the end of the work experience to help them gain knowledge of areas of progress and areas that still need attention.
At the end of Phase 2, the coach will work with the graduate to identify potential training programs and/or job opportunities that exist in the community. They will also review the overall progress of the graduate, assist them in updating and revising his/her resume and provide any needed help in accessing job opportunities.
The HUDDLE group is part of our Courage to Change summer program where we meet each Fri 12-1pm in a HUDDLE to address systemic barriers, discover lasting values and establish change.
A new and exciting part of our summer program is our Mobile Smoothie! In an effort to encourage healthy eating we understand that most of our guests won’t necessarily eat the fruits and vegetables that give life to our bodies. So instead we developed a way to blend them together so that our guests can drink them and still receive the essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. We also make sure they taste great.
In order to increase our efforts that make our mobile smoothie program possible we are asking for donations of the following: juicers, blenders, mixers, fruits and vegetables (blueberries, blackberries, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, honeydew, apples, bananas, cherries, spinach, kale, avocado, lime, mint, cucumber, ginger and celery. If you or someone you know is interested in making a donation please email us at email@example.com.
Our newest program we’ve launched under the Courage to Change program is our S.U.I.T.S program. S.U.I.T.S is an acronym and it stands for:
Set sustainable goals
The program provides professional clothing and uniforms graduates are able to access for job interviews and employment. However the core fundamental of the program is designed to teach principles for long term success.
If you’d like to donate clothing or funding to our S.U.I.T.S program please contact us by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org