I wanted to take a minute to update you on the lives touched by the generous gift that FaithWorks received from Highland last April.
FaithWorks is a 13 week, a pretty intense and structured 13 week, 37+ hours per week –career development training program for chronically unemployed and underemployed adults in the Abilene community. It is very relational. It is very whole-person. For thirteen weeks we are together, and we celebrate our 500 hours together with a weekday evening graduation ceremony with 150+ in attendance and a Sunday morning blessing time with five or six times that in attendance.
And then the student leaves the structure and the relationships and the meals and the morning devotional and the encouraging words . . .
Our focus for 2013 and 2014 is to be better at weeks 14-52. We are restructuring our monthly Thursday evening dinners for this group. We are reading Daring Greatly together. We pay for individual counseling for the student for a full year. And we are looking at ways that we need to transition them out of some of the great resources that we provide over the 13 weeks – instead of suddenly dropping them.
A safe place to live continues to be one of the important components of successful employment. In 2013 we were able to assist three students with rental assistance for a season, thanks to the gift from Highland Church of Christ. We are using a formal signed rental agreement patterned after what CitySquare in Dallas uses.
Two of the students were single moms. One was able to be reunited with her 18 year old college freshman son because she now has a home. She is employed full time. In addition, we were able to move a single mom with three kids out of an abusive situation and give her a safe place to live. This student has bounced around various fast food establishment jobs since her graduation from FaithWorks in August. Just this month she is finally employed in her choice career, dentistry, although she is still employed part time by one of the Rosa’s. She pays her first month’s rent on her own in February. The third student is male, single and in recovery. Our rental assistance paid his weekly rent at an Abilene transitional house for five or six weeks.
I believe with my whole heart that Highland’s gift allowed FaithWorks to provide a safety “bridge” to these three families. Thanks to Highland. Thanks to your role in making this happen.