GUIDANCE MINISTRIES
LEVEL 1
COMPASSIONATE WORKS AND OUTREACHES


100_1183.jpg
This is conducted as an open house forum serving meals to the homeless and low income families. Guests are seated and served in the style of a restaurant while background music is playing. Job announcements, birthday and anniversary singing as well as a brief sermon and prayer are offered just before the hot meals are served. This outreach is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-6 p.m.

We strive to assist individuals to locate and obtain employment as quickly as possible. We use a variety of tools to accomplish this. Local newspapers are made available and networking with employers and individuals allow us to announce employment opportunities. Bicycles are available for those who do not have vehicles, makeup is provided to women to look and feel better for job interviews, appropriate clothing for interviews and work are on site, as well as telephone usage and message taking is provided for those without phones. We also have provided classes on typing, basic math, Microsoft word, resume writing, and interview tips. Classes for “How to read a tape measure” are also offered. The homeless also use our laundry facilities and shower to clean up before going to an interview.
We are the only organization in Elkhart, and perhaps the county, to provide a shower and washer and dryer facility to those living directly on the streets. Many come in in the morning to drink a cup of coffee, check their messages and mail, take a hot shower and then go to the chapel to lie down on one of the pews for a nap. Often they have been awake all night due to the cold outside. When they are rested, they read the newspapers we provide and begin the days search for a job. Normally we find the homeless living under bridges, in vehicles, abandoned buildings, garages and tents.
Semi truck loads of a variety of items arrive periodically. After Guidance Ministries sorts out what is needed and can be housed at our 216 location, the remaining items are distributed to agencies throughout Elkhart County who can reach individuals and families we do not. All items are to be given to those in need without charge to recipients. We have a network agreement form to be signed by our recipient agencies to ensure compliance of distribution regulations.
children02.jpgThis outreach to the community is selective and lasts for two weeks. We serve Elkhart and Lagrange county residents only. The outreach begins on the second Saturday in December with a dinner, skit and gift giving. The evening’s program is by invitation only. Those invited are the homeless of the city, elderly who come to God’s Kitchen, and families who have missed the Toys for Tots and Adopt a Family deadlines. All in attendance will receive gifts. Then on Tuesday thru Thursday until Christmas, gifts are given out to children only who have missed the Toys for Tots and Adopt-a-Family deadlines. All applicants are screened to ensure no “double dipping” is occurring. This requires networking between all three agencies each year.

Weekly visits are made to meet the inmates and care for their emotional and spiritual needs. Twice a month church services are also held and an addiction support group is facilitated by our jail coordinator. Inmates are encouraged to come to us upon release so we can help them physically with food, clothing and any other way(s) they may need. Letters and receiving inmate phone calls are also an intricate part of this outreach.

 
000_0187.jpgBags of food and toiletry items are given out to those in need. Each bag is made up according to the number of family members living in the household and any special needs of the clients. Clients may come one time a month for assistance.

We distribute only clothing without rips, tears, or buttons missing. It is our desire to build self esteem by encouraging people to feel good about how they look. This is a key point to a person beginning to desire something better for themselves. Our policy is we will not distribute anything we personally would not wear ourselves. Clothing donated that does not meet our standards of approval are given to another organization who has a rag business. This business supports their vocational training program.

Fire, tornado, domestic violence victims as well as others are referred to us for this helps ministry. Dishes, towels, bedding, pots and pans, furniture of all kinds and many others items are given to those in need.
Our day is filled with people who are in need of services we are unable to supply at the present time. We network with other agencies to provide our clients with medical care and finances for various needs. We also facilitate many clients admission into drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs on a regular basis. In addition, we provide parent advocacy for special needs children as well as pastoral counseling.

LEVEL ll
TEACHING AND TRAINING

Many will never come to a class but will take home a book, DVD, audio series, etc. This library is stocked with Christian materials that are available to the public. We encourage churches and groups to check out our DVD and video series. Many small groups as well as individuals would like to have access to the teaching materials that we have available but would not be able to afford them on their own. No one should be hindered from learning because of their financial circumstances. The library is growing with more and more teaching series available.

A staff member is available to assist and teach any parent of a special needs child to initiate, obtain, maintain and facilitate services for their child in the public schools. This process can be complicated and at times frightening for a parent. Advocacy gives direction and support to a parent.

We have two separate divisions within this department. Adult education: Practical teaching and training are available such as typing, computer skills, interview tips, basic math classes, and resume construction are some of the classes. Classes for spiritual and practical application are also available to the public. Two of our most sought after classes available are “Boundaries” and “Healing of the Angry Heart”. Child education: A homework and mentoring class is in place twice a week for children 5 years old through 12th grade. Craft hour is available one time a week. Vacation Bible School is offered once a year. The children’s department now has its own computer and educational CD ROM’s for their use.
We are offering Computer Classes in the areas of Basic Computer Skills, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. All Classes are free.
We have two addictions support groups available at the GM building and one at the local county jail each week. The curriculum is written by a former alcoholic who is now a pastor. The curriculum is faith based.