October 2023 NEWSLETTER
Where Programming Was:
The Topeka Rescue Mission’s approach to education and program offerings has taken on different forms throughout the years. Some different programs that the Topeka Rescue Mission has provided or supported over the years include the Dare to Dream Mentoring Program, the Career Readiness Education (CaRE) program, the Servants In Training (SIT) program, and the Center for Biblical Leadership and Discipleship (CBLD) program. Each of these programs strove to meet different needs that are common amongst our guests.
The goal of Dare to Dream was to invite volunteer mentors to have an impactful and influential role in assisting our guests in achieving steps toward the goal to stabilize, find housing, and reintegrate with the community. An intensive orientation invited guests to focus on developing a holistic “life plan” comprised of financial, family, employment, education, transportation, housing, legal, health, spiritual and social goals. Participants were then paired with volunteer mentors who then met with them weekly to provide support and encouragement toward walking out steps toward their goals.
The Servants in Training (SIT) program was an intensive year-long program focused on spiritual growth, leadership, and accountability for those needing support in their addiction recovery. Participants were engaged in over 40 hours a week of various volunteer responsibilities as well as classes and study times to prepare for tests, write papers and complete projects. Many individuals who committed to and completed the program found stability in their lives and are now thriving as members of the community, and some are now occupying key leadership roles within the Topeka Rescue Mission today.
The Center for Biblical Leadership and Discipleship was an intensive 2-year program built on the foundation of the SIT program with a more intensive biblical training curriculum provided through a partnership with The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI) of Topeka. Upon graduation of the CBLD program, participants were qualified as licensed ministers.
These programs had many pieces that were greatly impacted when the Topeka Rescue Mission as well as the rest of the world were left to respond to concerns related to the novel Corona Virus Disease of 2019, particularly in the early months of 2020. The Dare to Dream mentoring program proved problematic with the number of external volunteers coming into the shelters, and many volunteers were concerned with the possibility of contracting the virus while assisting our guests. The Dare to Dream program was put on hold during the COVID pandemic and TRM eventually moved toward what can be referred to as a case management model in assisting guests toward goals. The SIT and CBLD programs had been seeing reduced numbers of individuals in participation before COVID and continued to decline during the pandemic and with the additional strains of the pandemic it was eventually decided to stop the programs entirely.
The Career Readiness Education (CaRE) program has been in operation since 2015 and was able to continue even through the COVID pandemic. Many of the guests of TRM come employed through temporary labor/employment agencies. While this provides more immediate income, there is not always a career focus in connecting individuals with more permanent employment or career opportunities. CaRE was developed with this in mind and skilled staff work diligently to provide participants with support, resources, certifications and skills to find stable career opportunities. Participants of the CaRE program have demonstrated sustained success working in professional environments and are aiding the community in a number of ways today.
Where Programming Currently Is:
The vision for Transformational Services is to offer a wide range of educational and relational program opportunities for all guests residing at TRM to participate in. These programs currently consist of Career Readiness Education Programming (CaRE), Life Skills Programming, and Trauma Education Programming.
Our CaRE Program’s mission is to positively change lives by educating, assisting, and mentoring participants to obtain financial sustaining employment. This 8-week program offers instruction, hands on activities, partnerships with employers and other volunteer subject matter experts to empower TRM guests to identify their personal strengths and abilities.
CaRE Programming Components
• A pre-class needs assessment
• Case management and support services
• Funds to obtain employment ID’s
• Bus passes to address transportation barriers
• Job ready clothing
• Opportunities for unpaid internal/external internships
• Job market certifications
Our Life Skills Programming coordinates with guest speakers to provide information, tools, and resources to help guests further their personal development and goals. Additionally, Life Skills Programming is provided to motivate guests while encouraging positive thinking for change and hope for a better future.
Life Skills Programming Components
• Communication Skills
• Personal Finance
• Emotional and Physical Health
• Substance Abuse
• Housing Stabilization
The Trauma Education Programming provides an in-depth look at our interpersonal selves and the ways we interact in and through relationships. These classes are designed to teach a broad set of “soft” social and behavioral skills for resiliency and self-regulation as guests strive to better manage their lives mentally, physically, and socially – to deal with the everyday demands of life.
Trauma Education Program Components
• What is Trauma & Brain Development?
• Attachment & Connection
• Creating Healthy Boundaries
• Self-Care, Regulation, & Coping Strategies
• Empowerment & Sensory
• Reframing Negative Thoughts
• Caregiving & Cycle Breaking
• Building a Growth Mindset
Where Programming is Going:
“TRM is excited about where we have come with our program offerings, but we are even more excited to see where we can continue to grow and expand. We want to offer a holistic whole-person approach when serving our guests within every aspect of our care for them, including our programming. As we continue to expand Transformational Services, we will continue to work from the foundation of Christ being in the center of all we do and teach as well as extended options for deeper Biblical Education, Recovery Programming, and Children’s Programming. TRM wants to be an organization that looks at the macro needs of those we serve but never loses sight of the micro, looking directly into the eyes of the vulnerable and hearing their needs.”
– Kourtney Barr