Volume 5, Number 23 • December 1, 2011 • www.agrm.org
This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by City Vision College.
Orlando member mission mentioned on prime time TV
A 60 Minutes piece that aired Sunday featured several homeless families in Florida, where the show says nearly a third of the country’s homeless population now lives. One family told of calling every shelter in the area without any hope of assistance, and finally calling the Orlando Union Rescue Mission (Orlando, Fla.), which had a shelter and programs for intact families…and had availability. You can read the transcript from the show or watch the video.
One AGRM member who viewed the show told the association that much of what was presented seemed to be taken right out of the pages of Invisible Neighbors, the new book written by AGRM President John Ashmen and published by Cross Section. The member said, “I would have given about anything to see the Invisible Neighbors website flash on the TV screen during the program.”
Allen Harden, president/CEO of the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, notes, “I have been blessed to present Invisible Neighbors in seven different churches and at two community functions during the past several months, and again want to thank John Ashmen and AGRM for caring enough to spend the time and effort to research, develop, and publish such a valuable tool. I have compiled and expanded three outlines for use in different settings and within varying time allowances. Our involvement this year with 60 Minutes, the local press, community leaders, church leaders, and the Love Orlando project sponsored by First Baptist Orlando has given us some great opportunities to expand our ability to energize our community to move forward toward the development of an action plan for problem resolution, reach more people, change lives, and give people hope for the future through a relationship with Christ.”
Are you using the Invisible Neighbors materials to expand your local outreach and to spread the message of how your mission serves your community? Materials and just about everything you need to utilize this resource are available at the campaign’s website. And coming soon will be pastor’s teaching notes, being written by Dr. Bob Wenz, to parallel every chapter of Invisible Neighbors.
Early registration continues for 2012 AGRM convention
Early registration continues for The AGRM 99th Annual Convention, which will be held May 20–23, 2012, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando. You can check out the early-bird brochure online, or look for a copy in the center of the November/December issue of Rescue magazine.
Early-bird registration—which offers a $30-per-person savings over the next-available rate—runs through December 15. You can download the registration form and fax or mail in your registration, or you can register online.
Association makes news with Snapshot Survey results
AGRM has been getting a lot of press recently following the release of the annual Snapshot Survey. Nearly 19,000 individuals at 114 rescue missions are represented in the survey’s results. President John Ashmen recorded an interview for Associated Press that was circulated to more than 100 radio networks and stations, and he was also interviewed for stories that appeared in The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. The Washington Post report focused on the 6 percent increase in clients of rescue missions who are victims of physical violence, as well as the finding that 35 percent of those surveyed said they had never before been homeless. “Unfortunately, nothing in the report is a huge surprise,” Ashmen noted in the article. “Some public figures like to give the impression that government programs are curbing homelessness and hunger. We certainly aren’t seeing it.”
End of 2011 provides opportunities to give
It's that time of year when the focus is on giving. If you made a faith promise at the AGRM convention last May, you still have time to fulfill your commitment before the end of the year! The association will be sending notifications by email over the next few business days that show how much you or your mission/organization promised in faith, and how much has been given through the end of November. You are welcome to donate by check, or log in here to donate by credit card. You can also log in to make a year-end donation to AGRM’s general operations or expansion funds. Thank you for your faithful and generous support to AGRM!
AGRM’s Vocational Education Affinity Group offers training conference
The first annual Vocational Education Affinity Group conference will be held January 23–25, 2012, at Haven of Rest Ministries (Akron, Ohio). This conference is for anyone who works in mission learning centers, helping men or women in the areas of education and job readiness. The cost is $130.00 per person, and the fee includes all conference materials, workshops, and all meals except for breakfast. Attendees are responsible for making their own lodging reservations. For additional information, visit the Haven of Rest Ministries website and choose Events, or contact L.J. Dalton, affinity group leader, at (330) 535-1563 or via email.
Important reminders about upcoming events
Looking down the street…
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Elderly man inadvertently gives life savings to Goodwill
An 80-year-old man from Moline, Illinois, says that he left $13,000 in a gray suit he dropped off at a Goodwill store several weeks ago. Since then, charity workers have been scouring mounds of clothes in the store and at a warehouse, but haven’t yet located the money. According to a Chicago Tribune report, the man’s wife is suffering from cancer, and the money was intended for her medical bills. As much as they need the money, the man has refused other offers for assistance, which have come from as far away as Germany and Russia, and instead just wants the money he gave away by mistake returned. In case the suit has already been sold, the man’s family is offering a $1,000 reward.
Fund accepts grant applications to help homeless women
The J. Jill Compassion Fund, a donor-advised fund at the Boston Foundation, is accepting pre-applications from community-based organizations that support underprivileged and homeless women in the United States. According to a Foundation Center report, since 2002, the fund has contributed more than $2.5 million in grants to more than 60 nonprofit organizations nationwide working to help women achieve self-sufficiency. Based in Quincy, Massachusetts, J. Jill is a specialty retailer of women's apparel. Funding priority is given to nonprofit programs and organizations that provide job training, education, and transitional or affordable housing to disadvantaged and homeless women. For 2012, priority consideration will be given to programs and organizations that empower women and help them become self-sufficient, and have established a relationship with or connection to one or more of the J. Jill stores. Applicants must be community-based organizations or national organizations with local affiliates serving women in need and must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Visit the J. Jill website for complete program guidelines, the pre-application form, and lists of previous years' grantees.
Billy Graham admitted to hospital for pneumonia tests
Evangelist Billy Graham, who turned 93 on November 7, was in stable condition after being tested for pneumonia yesterday at a hospital in Ashville, North Carolina. According to a USA Today report, Graham was taken to the hospital with a cough, congestion, and slight fever. He arrived smiling and waving at hospital staff. After initial tests and X-rays, he was admitted at least for overnight observation and treatment of suspected pneumonia. Graham, who has dealt with Parkinson's-like symptoms for more than a decade, was treated for pneumonia in May but rebounded to resume his normal activities — prayer, study, and writing. Graham’s most recent book, Nearing Home, was published in October, and he spent Thanksgiving at his Montreat, North Carolina, home with family.
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Americans make holiday charitable giving a priority
Nearly seven out of 10 Americans say it’s important to give to charity this holiday season, a 10-percent jump from a similar poll conducted last year by the American Red Cross. However, only 57 percent actually plan to give between Thanksgiving and January 1, the same percentage as in 2010. According to a linkedin.com report, 72 percent of people who plan to give say they will donate the same as or more than last year. Perhaps the best news for charities is that donations are the last thing many people plan to cut, even as they scrimp on other holiday expenses. While only 26 percent say they plan to reduce their charitable donations, 45 percent plan to curb travel expenses and spend less on holiday decorations, 40 percent say they won’t spend as much on parties, and 35 percent plan to spend less on gifts for friends and family.
Veterans stay homeless longer than others
Once veterans become homeless, they are likely to remain homeless longer than non-veterans. And they are also more likely to report having serious health problems, concludes a recent study by the 100,000 Homes Campaign. According to a New York Times report, the study is based on surveys conducted over several years with 23,000 homeless people, of which nearly 3,500 were veterans. One purpose of the study was to learn more about why veterans are disproportionately represented among the homeless population. While veterans are 9 percent of the total population, they represented more than 15 percent of the homeless people surveyed. The study also found that on average, veterans are homeless for 5.7 years, significantly longer than the 3.9 years non-veterans are homeless. And 62 percent of veterans reported having been homeless for two years or longer, compared with half of non-veterans. Further, the study found that older people tend to be homeless longer; 21 percent of the veterans surveyed were over 60 years old, compared to about 9 percent of non-veterans who were over that age.
Study reveals American values as 2012 elections near
With the next presidential election less than a year away, voters are chiming in on the importance of the values held by candidates. According to a Public Religion Research Institute survey, two-thirds of voters say that it’s important for a presidential candidate to have strong religious beliefs. However, roughly one out of five voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who had strong religious beliefs if those beliefs were very different from their own. The survey also found that more Americans believe President Obama, rather than Republican leaders in Congress, has a better idea about how to create jobs (44 percent and 35 percent respectively). And the survey revealed divisions on the issue of equal opportunity: 53 percent of Americans believe that one of the biggest problems in the country is that everyone doesn’t have an equal chance in life, while four out of 10 Americans say it’s not really a problem if some people have more of a chance than others.
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Just in time for Christmas shopping
Lydia’s Purse is a program that teaches the women in Harvest Hope, the women’s division of Haven of Rest Ministries (Akron, Ohio), the skills of sewing and design. The women in the program use recycled fabrics to design and create women’s Harvest Hope tote bags and small shopping bags. When the bags are sold, a percentage of the proceeds returns to the ministry to benefit the women and children who live there. Recently, Lydia’s Purse was given a space at the Hartville Market Place, a 100,000-square-foot building that houses 110 shops, where the women can sell the bags they create.
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Oxnard, California: Foundations Resource Officer—Rescue Mission Alliance, a Christian nonprofit, is seeking a foundation resource officer who will be responsible for identification, solicitation, negotiation, acquisition, management, and reporting of grants from private and corporate foundations in support of our six outreach programs. Must be a committed Christian in good standing in a local church; B.A. in development, public relations, communications, or a related field; two years’ experience in a professional-level related position; valid California driver’s license; excellent written and verbal communication; ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines; willingness to work a flexible schedule and with a variety of internal and external groups; proficient in Microsoft Office software, grant research resources, and Raiser’s Edge software. Please email a cover letter and résumé, or fax to (805) 385-4126 with a cover page indicating the position you are applying for. Added 12/1/2011
Phoenix, Arizona: Program Director—This position is responsible for the development and oversight of all programs and operations of the Changing Lives Center and other potential related programs and program industry. Consistent with Phoenix Rescue Mission quality standards, position will develop and direct residential recovery, and transitional programs through the involvement of staff, volunteers, as well as social and auxiliary services. See the mission’s website for a complete job description and information on applying. Added 12/1/2011
Reno, Nevada: Chaplain—Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission is seeking a full-time chaplain to serve as mentor, teacher, and counselor for a 100-bed co-ed recovery program. Email inquiries to Rick Redding. Added 12/1/2011
Joliet, Illinois: Men’s Program Director—Bachelor’s degree and minimum three years’ experience in counseling and/or shelter program. Competitive salary, health insurance, 403b, and other benefits. To apply or for more information, contact MorningStar Mission Ministries, Inc., 350 E. Washington St., Joliet, IL 60433; fax: (815) 726-9450; or contact via email. Added 12/1/2011
Phoenix, Arizona: Chief Development Officer—Position summary: To increase financial support, community awareness, understanding, perception, and involvement of Phoenix Rescue Mission. Design, implement, and actively participate in fundraising programs for major gifts, planned giving, capital campaigns, direct mail, and special events. Maximize the full potential of public relations and media contacts for the benefit of the mission. Maintain knowledge of the mission's programs, services, financial needs, strategy, and governance. See the mission’s website for a complete job description and information on applying. Added 12/1/2011
Tucson, Arizona: Director for Men’s Center—The Gospel Rescue Mission of Tucson, a 58-year-old mission, is currently seeking a Director for the Men’s Center with a minimum of seven years’ experience with shelter and recovery programs. The ideal candidate will be able to demonstrate very strong management skills, as well as experience with a Genesis Recovery Program in a grace-based culture and a related undergraduate or graduate degree. Ministry overview at the mission’s website. Competitive salary, health insurance, and retirement benefits. Please submit résumé by email to Human Resource Manager Erin Jaurigue and to Director of Programs Steve Trost. Added 11/15/2011
Colorado Springs, Colorado: Supportive Family Services Director—Springs Rescue Mission, Colorado Springs, Colorado, is seeking a Supportive Family Services Director to lead and develop new family ministry program. Details available at the mission’s website. Added 11/15/2011
Sioux City, Iowa: Chaplain—The Gospel Mission has an opening for a full- or part-time chaplain. Email inquiries to Harold Youtzy Jr. Added 11/15/2011
North Hollywood, California: Director, San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission—The Rescue Mission Alliance (RMA) is a Christian nonprofit organization that has been serving the less-fortunate in Southern California through emergency and long-term rehabilitation services for more than 39 years. RMA partners with local churches to meet the spiritual needs of the people we serve. The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission (SFVRM) is a vital part of RMA that offers emergency shelter and homeless outreach to families, as well as a men’s drug and alcohol recovery program. The Director will launch programs and staffing for our new 12,000-sqaure-foot resident Family Shelter and a Men’s Addiction Recovery program, as well as direct the existing shelter and ministry for homeless families and homeless individuals in the community. This is a full-time, exempt position located at the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission in North Hollywood, California. Compensation is commensurate with skills and experience, and includes benefits. This position will oversee a growing ministry to the hungry, homeless, and addicted in the San Fernando Valley. It will involve communicating to individuals, churches, civic groups, and other organizations to solicit financial and volunteer support, and educate the community regarding our ministry. Desired qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in a related field plus a minimum of five years of ministry, management, and nonprofit experience. Must be a committed Christian with exemplary character and a proven ability to lead, initiate, problem-solve, disciple, and pray for clients. Strong writing, computer, and administrative skills are a must. Please email your cover letter and résumé, or fax them to (805) 385-4126 with a cover page indicating the position you are interested in applying for. If you submit your information through the mission’s website, you will receive an email confirming it was received. The mission is unable to send confirmation that faxes were received. No phone calls, please. Please visit the mission’s website to view all current employment opportunities. Added 11/15/2011
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Jesus was born anonymously, without the world noticing. It’s important for the homeless and hurting men and women our missions serve to hear that simple sentence, because God has something for them that the world can’t see.
Our guests need to know that they aren’t anonymous to God. He sees their needs even if others don’t. He sees their need for love and grace no matter where they are—just as He saw the needs of the world 2,000 years ago.
The first Christmas was stressful and painful. It was filled with travel, rejection, and fear. Yet even though Mary and Joseph were turned away time and again, God found a place for them. And He has a place today for those who are homeless and living in despair. The holidays can remind people today of what they don’t have or what they have lost. Yet God still is able to make even the most humble and stressful times magnificent.
We don’t need to be afraid. As the angel announced at Jesus’ birth: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).
God can bless us with joy, love, and laughter when we least expect it. He can surprise us just as He surprised the world with the birth of His Son. Both we and the people we serve can have hope that God loves us and sees us this Christmas and every day of the year.
Contributed by David Sena, executive director of Northlands Rescue Mission (Grand Forks, N.D.). Reprinted with permission from the Voice of Grace newsletter.
To contribute: If you would like to write a devotional thought for "Street Light," please make it about 200 words and include at least one Bible verse or passage, and submit via email.
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