April 2016 Posts

More Than Just A Homeless Shelter

Have you ever been down Jefferson Street in Fort Collins? If so, then you’ve undoubtedly seen our building. You know, it’s the one with the facade that resembles The Alamo. While passing by, you may have asked yourself, “What goes on inside those walls?”

Sure, you’ve probably seen the line of people gathered outside with all of their worldly possessions in tow. But what happens once they enter?

fcrm

Fort Collins Rescue Mission is primarily known for providing vital services like overnight shelter and meals for people in need. However, the Mission is so much more than that. Inside our facility, we offer compassion, kindness and hope as well as provide opportunities for men and women to get back on their feet through life-changing programs and spiritual guidance.

We believe everyone who comes through our doors deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. One of Jesus’ most interesting teachings is that our commitment to him can be measured by how we treat other people, especially those who have been rejected by society for one reason or another. Whether someone is experiencing homelessness as a result of being laid off, undergoing a divorce, seeking escape from domestic violence, suffering from financial burden, or being released from prison, they can turn to Fort Collins Rescue Mission for help. A hearty meal, a hot shower and a place to lay their head — we are here to meet them at their physical point-of-need.

A Step in the Right Direction
Moreover, we go beyond just offering a meal and bed for the evening; we also meet people at their spiritual point-of-need. Fort Collins Rescue Mission offers a short-term, faith-based, transitional program for those seeking life change called Steps to Success. Through the program, we provide opportunities for adult men and women to become productive, self-sufficient citizens. Our Steps to Success program is three to nine-months-long and combines one-on-one case management, life-skills workshops, work therapy and spiritual engagement. Once completed, individuals will have what they need to successfully re-enter society.

Case Management
Having lost everything, some people come to us with literally nothing but the clothes on their back. Sometimes what’s missing includes essential documents like a birth certificate and social security card. When you lack these critical pieces of information, it’s impossible to secure employment, among other things. That’s where our case managers can help. Each program participant receives comprehensive case management to help them gain access to necessary services, including housing resources, mental health care providers, educational opportunities, and beyond.

Steps to Success Program

Training for Success
Additionally, we provide a variety of life-skills classes that impart the tools necessary for individuals to become independent and self-sustaining. For example, we offer workshops that emphasize things like developing critical thinking skills, letting go of destructive habits, learning to build positive relationships and how to set healthy boundaries. We also focus on setting goals, employment readiness, developing budgets and more. These trainings help build confidence and self-esteem and provide the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to tackle life’s challenges.

Taking Pride in Work
Another critical component of the program is called Work Therapy, which teaches responsibility and accountability. Participants engage in daily assignments which can include helping in the kitchen, lending a hand with facility maintenance or assisting with operations. These small chores provide opportunities for “small wins” and allow participants to feel a sense of pride for meeting goals and accomplishing daily tasks.

Spiritual Guidance
Perhaps the most important element of the program is the spiritual factor. Every evening, volunteers from local churches lead on-site chapel service. They offer guests words of encouragement and deliver powerful messages of forgiveness, peace and love. They shine a light in midst of darkness. They are a beacon of hope. Similarly, our staff host routine group bible studies. By spending time in the Word and learning about the power of God’s love, participants discover greater meaning and purpose for their lives. They also have opportunities to develop relationships and build supportive community networks by attending local church services and participating in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Finishing Proud
Upon graduating the program, participants have a new perspective, a reinvigorated sense of purpose and are surrounded by strong community support. These are all key to sustained success as they transition into their new life beyond our walls. The old saying is true: If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. But teach that man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

Interested in learning more about how we’re “Changing lives in the name of Christ”?

Visit us at our OPEN HOUSE at 316 Jefferson Street on Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 11am – 1 pm. Click here to learn more. See you there!

open house

Spiritual Journeys Come in All Shapes and Sizes

The main reason I chose to intern at Denver Rescue Mission was because I wanted to grow spiritually. The thought of being surrounded by other Christians in a professional work environment really appealed to me. I prayed to God that my time here would change me for the better. My prayer was answered, but it did not come as easy as I thought it would. It took time and a lot of getting out of my comfort zone.

Being a double major in journalism and international relations, I interned with the public relations department. I was loving the work that I was tasked with, my supervisors and what I was learning. Everything in the department was going well. It seemed like God had answered my request to grow professionally, but not spiritually. What was going on?

I realized that although I was working in a Christian environment that did not mean I would experience spiritual growth right away. So, I prayed and well…everything changed.

Denver Rescue Mission interns Ashley Montano and Shannon Stewart

Shannon Stewart (pictured right) and I formed a close friendship interning at Denver Rescue Mission

One day, out of nowhere, I ran into a fellow intern in Denver Rescue Mission’s administration building named Shannon. We talked about how our internships were going and about life in general. Before you knew it, phone numbers were exchanged and a friendship was formed.

Shannon introduced me to all of the other interns. We prayed before meals, encouraged each other and it pushed me to want to build an even stronger relationship with Christ. This was the complete opposite community that I had during my college years. It was refreshing and I noticed that I was happier, overall.

 

 

 

The spiritual journey did not stop there. I was able to volunteer at Denver Rescue Mission’s Easter Banquet on Good Friday. I was expecting to be moved, but I did not think that I would come out changed. As the homeless sat down, there was a look of sadness in some of their eyes. When I brought them their warm plates of food, there was a sparkle in their eyes. In that moment they were being taken care of. In that moment they felt safe.

Guests worshiped together in Denver Rescue Mission's chapel before enjoying their Easter meal

Guests worshiped together at Denver Rescue Mission’s Easter service

I then journeyed down to the chapel where our guests were able to sit through a church service. As I walked in the middle of it, I noticed that some people started to cry when the pastor told them that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and He loved them. I kind of lost my control and shed a tear as well. I was sad that these people were in such a vulnerable position in life. I was moved by the fact that Christ still loves them and that he could change their situations. It was at that exact moment that I connected with Denver Rescue Mission as a whole.

This organization saves so many lives through all of the programs that it offers. I also witnessed this at Champa House when I shadowed an intern there. Champa House is a nurturing place for single mothers that shelters and cares for up to nine women and 20 children at one time. Observing how the moms have a strong desire to change their lives was astonishing. It was shocking considering the hardships that they went through. Some of them said that only through Christ were they able to find that will to change.

I have seen how Christ was working through all of the employees and interns at the Mission. I am so happy that God answered my prayers. I learned that it is important to put yourself out there in order to gain experiences. I believe that this experience changed me for the better. God changed me for the better.

God may not have answered my prayers the way I expected him to… but I’m glad he caught me of guard.

If you’re looking for your own spiritual journey, learn more about interning at the Mission at www.denverrescuemission.org/internship.

Preparing for Denver’s Fickle Weather 

As we prepare for a mid-spring winter weather advisory (can anyone say oxymoron?!), staff at Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Community Center, Lawrence Street Shelter and Fort Collins Rescue Mission are preparing for increased demand for our services.

Guests fill the Lawrence Street Community Center dining hall during a March 2016 snow storm.

Guests fill the Lawrence Street Community Center dining room during a March 2016 snow storm

As you can imagine, bad weather brings a lot more people indoors during the day and overnight. Here is how our facilities are preparing for this weekend:

The Lawrence Street Community Center’s dining room will be open throughout the day Saturday an Sunday. Additional food is being prepared for our normal meal times. Warm showers are at the ready, along with emergency clothing supplies. Staff will work to ensure that everyone seeking overnight shelter has a confirmed place to go.

The Lawrence Street Shelter anticipates filling all 315 beds and mats, as well as 325 mats at the Emergency Shelter (operated in partnership with Denver’s Road Home). Area shelter providers are already talking, ensuring that each provider knows where to send people in the event they reach their capacity.

Fort Collins Rescue Mission is preparing for a very similar demand on its services: increased meals and utilizing all of their available beds and mats. Fort Collins Rescue Mission provides more than 100 people a warm, dry and safe place to spend the night, including overflow mats which will be extended through April 30th.

As you brave the looming elements this weekend, consider how you might help Denver Rescue Mission keep these vital services available within the community. We ask you to visit our Donations page to learn how your generous donations can make a lasting impact at our shelter facilities.