Last year I wrote requesting a financial donation to help us with a new program, the Integrated Living Program (ILP). This program reviews and develops job and life skills, as well as providing opportunities to receive instruction in basic computer training, and resume production. We opened this year with a celebration for our successful graduates! Our graduates such as David, Michael and Stephanie all got jobs. A year later they are self-confident, independent, contributing members of our community.
Our graduates’ successes prove that we made the right decision a year ago, when we concluded that the shelter needed to expand its mission. We knew we had to do more than continue to feed from 60 to 100 hungry men and women every night and provide a bed for 30 homeless guests every evening. We needed to break the cycle of homelessness. But we need your help to continue providing training to our guests so that they have the opportunity to move beyond homelessness and hunger, a life of dependence, into a life you and I take for granted, a life as an independent member of society.
Each time a new cycle of the Integrated Living Program (ILP) begins, those who have graduated become role models for the new participants; they become examples toward which to strive. Folks like David, Stephanie and Michael are the real sources of encouragement for those who are beginning to struggle to improve their skills and to take the risk of moving from day-to-day employment to steady, full-time work and a career.
Our students participate in 12 hours of classes geared toward improving their job and life skills. These include workshops in such skills as interviewing, both in person and on the phone, dressing appropriately, constructing a resume, budgeting, conflict resolution, being a good employee and keeping a job.
Your readers’ donations would allow us to approach homelessness and joblessness holistically, realizing that person needs to address all facets of his/her life to gain self-sufficiency and maintain a quality life. The ILP together with our Shelter Arts Program, provides an opportunity to enhance our guest’s often wounded sense of self worth. These workshops in dance, music, creative writing, sketching and prayer, allow our guests to come to a better understanding of their talents and gifts.
Last year, we knew we had begun a great program. However, we learned out graduates found it difficult to connect these newly honed skills with jobs that allowed them to utilize them. We realize another step is needed.
We are still in need of much coveted space, all of our programs continue to run in our limited area. To that end, we are working to secure the use of the upper level of the building that we currently occupy. This will enable us to provide a secure space for our programs and further our hopes and dreams. Of course with this added space comes great opportunities and corresponding responsibilities, higher rent, higher utilities costs to name just a few!
Confucius teaches us, if we give a person a fish we feed him for a day. But with your help, together, we can teach our participants to fish so they can eat for life. Thank you for joining our efforts to make a difference in the lives of so many of our talented guests.
The shelter is located at 300 Bloomfield Street and can be reached at 656-5069.
Sr. Norberta Hunnewinkel
The Hoboken Shelter