Nearly $1.2 million in incentive grants has been awarded in the territory through the Thomas Lyle Williams (TLW) Fund. The six programs, representing five divisions, range from helping children get healthy nutrition to comprehensively caring for older adults to preparing inmates for successful re-assimilation into society.
The grants have been awarded on a tiered, step-down basis over three to five years. In order to receive a TLW grant, each program had to have a match gift and community partnerships, be mission supportive and sustainable. Measurable outcomes must be demonstrated during yearly reviews.
A Better Start
In LaPorte, Ind., a new Backpack Food for Kids program is being introduced. The program provides backpacks filled with nutritional food to students in need each Friday during the school year so that weekend meals are covered. With research showing good health and nutrition are prerequisites for effective learning, the school district is enthusiastically supporting this new effort. Having tested a successful pilot program last spring by partnering with the United Way, the Army in LaPorte is now able to launch a full scale program with the TLW grant.
“We are convinced this program will not only provide food but will better the children’s scholastic performance, increasing the likelihood of future success in life,” said Envoy Greg Irwin, corps administrator.
He continued, “It is also a way to reach out to the parents and let them know they are not alone. It may have the effect of motivating parents to move from despair to hope…We are blessed to have the Backpack Food for Kids program as a conduit to bring the gospel message of hope and redemption to families in our struggling community.”
Help for the Homeless
On any given night in Indianapolis, Ind., more than 1,600 individuals experience homelessness, with an estimated 300 living in abandoned houses or make-shift communities. Many experience violence, including sexual assaults, in these situations.
With the TLW grant, the Ruth Lilly Women and Children’s Center in Indianapolis, which has provided safe shelter and supportive services for more than 59 years to women and children, is able to add outreach services to homeless individuals who do not want to come into a shelter community but still need support and resources.
The new outreach program will provide crisis intervention, ongoing care coordination, access to shelter resources and medical care, including mental health and addiction services, financial assistance, educational classes, support groups, and overall advocacy. The initiative is in line with the center’s goal of promoting stabilization and improved quality of life as people move toward self-sufficiency.
In Ramsey County, Minn., the need for emergency shelter and housing for youth and young adults is acute. Last year the Army’s Booth Brown House opened a shelter which is always filled to capacity. Now it will be able to increase the number of youth it serves and add much-needed case management services on-site. The shelter provides a first step out of homelessness for young people up to age 22, giving them not only a safe environment but access to services tailored to their unique needs and developmental stage.
Young people who stay at the shelter will be able to participate in independent life skills classes and have access to Booth Brown House’s network of community services, which will connect them with health screenings, legal assistance, educational services, transportation, drop-in centers, counseling, spiritual programming and other social services.
A New Beginning
In Kansas, New Beginnings, a faith-based, pre-release reentry program designed to empower inmates to have a successful transition back into the community, is being implemented. The program works closely with incarcerated men 12 months prior to their release to overcome barriers that may prevent re-assimilation. According to Ernest Jones, KWM divisional correctional services director, studies have shown when these hurdles are removed early, recidivism is reduced and men move forward with their lives.
Funding of this program helps inmates receive strategies and tools needed to start over. New Beginnings utilizes the Threshold program that addresses personal growth and development and managing relationships, daily journaling, Inside Out Dad that helps with parenting skills and strengthening connections to family, Bridges to Freedom which supplies tools for the job market, and The Salvation Army’s Bible Correspondence Course.
“There are times when the Spirit of God will lead us to unpopular places; however, meeting needs in His name without discrimination mandates that we go,” said Ernest.
On Aging Well
The Army in Goshen, Ind., is positioning itself to provide services to meet the needs of older adults. Through the TLW grant, a new Senior Comprehensive Development Program will provide life-enriching programs for seniors five days a week.
The targeted, multi-faceted program addresses the vital areas for seniors’ well-being. These include transportation to the program, healthy nutrition through hot meals and monthly senior-specific food boxes, socialization and opportunities to gain new skills and to volunteer, financial assistance for those in need, and counseling for seniors and their families by a licensed mental health worker. A computer lab of laptops is planned with intergenerational tutoring through a new partnership with Oasis.
The Manitowoc, Wis., Corps is launching a medical services program designed to help people who are uninsured, underinsured or who are struggling to meet copayments. Many of the individuals and families this program will help will have utilized the emergency room for non-critical care, coming at a very high cost to them and also placing a great stress on the local hospital and community.
Three different services, running congruently, will include a free medical clinic for those in need, a paid prescription service for those who can’t afford medicine, and funding of travel to and from the clinic and other medical facilities through bus tokens, travel vouchers or gas cards.
The corps has garnered enthusiastic support from the community and has an all-volunteer staff including a physician, registered nurse, receptionist and social worker at the clinic and has two hospitals which have agreed to support the clinic with a limited amount of x-rays and blood tests.
“The Red Shield Clinic in its short existence has already made an impact on the lives of those we serve,” said Lt. Jeffrey Olson, Manitowoc corps officer. “We are seeing patients who have not seen a doctor in years.”