Sunday, June 2, 2024

Beacon Minute 6/2/24

   Beacon Minute 

Good Evening Friends!
The past few months I have been very busy. I have been trying to get a feel for where we need to make changes and what should stay the same. With big ideas comes the reality that you have to decide how to make those ideas come to fruition. 

Months ago, I began a conversation with someone interested in doing case management with our clients. A few weeks ago, I hired Ted Lewis to work with our clients. Even in a few short weeks, our clients have made great strides on their journeys.  The same time that Ted started, I had decided that we would require clients to go through a UW-Extension program called Rent Smart. It is a series of 6 sessions held over 3 weeks. It was very informative, and worthwhile. When participants complete all 6 sessions, they receive a certificate from the Extension, and we are providing them with a $20 gas card or Walmart card. We had 5 participants start the classes. One left our shelter program, and one got a full-time job during the day, so he was unable to complete the classes. However, our three women completed the classes and will receive certificates and gift cards.   

If you are willing to provide a gas only card to a local gas station or a Walmart card, we'd be happy to get some for our future participants. Mark your mailing with the comment, Rent Smart Completion.

Also, with Ted in the lead, people are applying for jobs and getting hired, buying cars and registering them, regaining driver's licenses (even retaking the driving part), getting set up to volunteer if not working, and so much more! Hooray!

The last three weeks have been amazing! The clients are progressing in their lives, they are feeling better about themselves, and they are closer to gaining employment and housing. 

All of this is in conjunction with the generous donations from you as individuals and local organizations and churches that support us along the way. Your help is extremely important AND appreciated. Without your help, this would all be so much more difficult. THANK you for your support.

Last Monday we started a remodel project on the women's shelter bathroom. This is made possible with a WHEDA grant. It will be a blessing when it is finished in a couple of weeks. 

At the men's shelter we are making some changes to room set-up, painting, cleaning-up inside and out, and organizing. We really could use a few volunteers to help with painting and set-up of beds and other furniture. Do you need community service hours? Do you have extra time and just want to help our organization? Are you a group that looks for places to serve others?

PLEASE reach out to me on messenger or call or text 715-609-9600 if you can help us in any way. We are actively working on these projects, so let us know right away if you are willing to help! We sure would appreciate it! 

All our changes will improve the services we can provide our clients and the amount of people we can house. Ted and I have a lot of plans and goals for current and future clients. We aren't just housing people in this moment of homelessness. We want to see that our clients can change their situations and lives, with our help. 

Everyone's mental health is improving with the positive steps Ted is helping them make. Of course I am there helping them as well, offering ideas when needed. But Ted is helping fill a gap we have been missing for quite some time! As you can tell, I am pretty stoked to have Ted on board and helping this organization. 

Some other areas that we could use long-term volunteer help is taking in donations on a weekly basis at the shelter, picking up donations, setting up client's homes when they move out of the shelter, being a property custodian that checks on and deals with issues, being a house mother/father/grandmother/grandfather, being someone to share expertise in certain areas (resumes, finances, etc.). Can you see yourself helping in this capacity? Again, let me know! I'd love to talk to you about what you can offer our organization.

We're doing great things! The clients are working hard- at paying jobs AND at improving their own lives! Ted and I are very proud of the work they are putting in and the big leaps they are willing to make to reach their goals. 

This is what we are here for. To be a BEACON for those that are nearly hitting shore. Instead, they see the lighthouse and make it through the storm. 

Next week, one person is slated to move into their permanent housing. Another should be close behind. They took scary leaps and are reaping the rewards!

One final request. If you know of a very cheap enclosed trailer (or one you'd be willing to donate), let me know because we really could use one to transport donations. We often get large furniture, and more than one piece from the same place, that a 10' long trailer would be AMAZING!

Thank you again to all those that support our work. It takes a community to work towards ending homelessness! We appreciate you!

Amazon Wish List:
We could use towels (especially bath size), queen/full/twin sheets, knife blocks, utensils, planners for entry to the house, cookie sheets, cutting boards, trash bags for the houses, and mop buckets for the houses.