It’s not always that easy

Experiencing the hardest time of your life doesn’t mean you have to do it alone

Have you ever heard the common phrase, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”?

This phrase dates to the mid-1800s and is still used today as a way of telling someone they can succeed or elevate themselves without any outside help. Often you hear about athletes and celebrities that came from nothing and now have the “perfect” life, a real rags-to-riches story. Perhaps your parents, a coach, or a former boss spoke these words to you during a past struggle in your life. Maybe you said this to your kids, friends, or coworkers.

However, it is also commonly asked how can a person pull themselves up with their bootstraps if they don’t have boots. How can a person go from rags to riches if they don’t have the rags? This is where St. John’s Ministries steps in and offers the boots, providing someone with the rags needed to turn into riches. This is done by providing forward-moving workshops, community support, case management, and in this case, through the Guest Volunteer Program.

The Guest Volunteer Program was created to benefit guests and reward them for giving back to their community. Participants may apply and interview for several unique volunteer roles at any of St. John’s Ministries locations. Participants may serve in the laundry room at Women’s Shelter, provide kitchen assistance for volunteers at Men’s Shelter, lead workshops at Wellspring or provide chore assistance at the Micah Center.

The intangible benefits are the professional and personal life skills gained during their time in the Guest Volunteer Program, a positive reference from staff or volunteers they are working with, and the confidence to seek employment in their community.

The Guest Volunteer Program, along with the benefits mentioned above, gives participants the opportunity to apply for grants from St. John’s Ministries. Like any grant program, the participant must answer a series of questions in a formal grant proposal, which will then be reviewed by the Guest Grant Committee consisting of staff and executive leadership. Funds, which are restricted to forward-moving expenses such as rental application fees, security deposits, work uniforms, and many other expenses, will be paid directly to the vendor if awarded to the participant(s).

Last year alone, St. John’s Ministries had 11 individuals enrolled in the Guest Volunteer Program and all went on to become housed within a few months after the 2021-22 shelter season ended.

If you would like to support St. John’s Ministries and the Guest Volunteer Program, please click here to donate and help a guest “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

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