It can be hard to describe what we do. We’re a mentoring program that provides wrap around services for our families. But what does that mean exactly? The best way to describe it is simply to give you a peek into our activities the last couple of weeks. (In no particular order. Names have been omitted to protect confidentiality.)
- We had a special Action Plan meeting where I sat in on it. I challenged a family to make good on their commitment to enter marriage counseling. It’s been on their action plan for their entire time with us. Their mentors have addressed this issue with them several times. They have been making strides in financial management, but now need to take the next step in addressing some issues in their marriage.
- Moving a family from homelessness to stable housing is much more complicated that just securing housing. Around Christmas, a family that has been in our program for a while finally secured housing that will work for them. Part of stability for them was purchasing a vehicle that would allow this two parent family to both get to the two jobs each had secured. In December, we purchased a vehicle for them and set up a payment plan for partial repayment. We also provided several key pieces of furniture and helped them move in. This is the first stable home, job and car that this family has had for several years.
- We had another special Action Plan meeting where a family’s pastor joined the meeting. This family has struggled to find consistent housing due to some poor relationship decisions, yet are faithful church attendees. It’s always our goal for our families to connect with a faith community for support and encouragement. It was great that this family already has a supportive church home. We challenged this family on their relationship issues and offered some concrete steps to secure long term housing.
- Often our families come to us with domestic violence in their background. We have a family that’s finishing up their time with us that’s come a long way in processing this issue. During their time with us, both mom and her children have grown from being in counseling. She is now stable and self-sufficient. As she closes her time with us, she is focused on looking for a better paying job with hours that would allow her to spend more time with her children.
- Part of our role with some families is helping them navigate the many challenges of private, state and federal social service assistance. One of our families got caught in a strange housing voucher issue and ended up having to stay with a relative for a while. Both our Social Worker and her District 5 Social Worker have called Housing and advocated for her. Throughout this time, she’s stayed in constant contact with her very supportive mentor. It’s been hard, but we hope to move this family into stable housing this week or next.
- Some of our families’ crisis is trying to figure out how to keep up with parenting challenges. One of our families is working through some severe issues with both of her children. With her mentor alongside of her, we’re challenging her to follow through on a self-care plan that we brainstormed as part of her Action Plan.
- When we accept a family, we go to great lengths to make the right paring of mentor and family. Sometimes, though, the pairing is just obvious from the first meeting. Last week, we paired a new mentor couple who are both accountants with a family who’s first challenge is getting a budget plan. It’s great when a pairing is so obvious! They have met and are already tackling their Action Plan.
- This past Saturday we trained three new mentors from three different churches. We’re excited that Acts Metro is expanding! Tara and I met yesterday to pair one of these new mentors with a newly accepted family. We’ll set up a meeting between the two in the next week or so and get an Action Plan, which becomes the game plan for a family to move forward.
- A former family came into our office to use our computer to look for work in her chosen career field. She came to Acts Metro after fleeing a domestic violence situation with nothing but what she could stuff in her car. She now has stable housing and has a supportive community around her. It’s always great to stay connected with our former families.