Positive Choices making a difference

Workshop focuses on discussion surrounding successes in life and forward movement

Written by Tony Schneider, community engagement specialist

St. John's Ministries' Positive Choices workshop focuses on success, forward movement to achieve goals towards housing, employment.

Take a moment and ask yourself, “What does a good day look like for me?”

Now, reflect back on the previous 24 hours and think, “What is one positive thing that I did today?”

If we ask those questions to a hundred people, we will hear a hundred unique answers. Each one of us is different from the next. Each of our backgrounds is unique to us. Every person’s situation is different from the person standing next to them. The same is true for the hundreds of guests that visit St. John’s Ministries seeking hope, change, support, and solutions.

So many of us are going through difficult times. At St. John’s Ministries, 27 percent of guests in shelters are struggling with addiction, 65 percent are living with a mental health disorder, and every guest is facing uncertainty as to where they will be one year from now. Case management and community service providers work with each guest to meet their housing and employment goals, and life aspirations. Each day, frontline staff along with guests, work to make sure time is taken to focus on the positives.

Positive Choices is a workshop at Wellspring and the Micah Center. This workshop is available to guests, staff, volunteers, and anyone from the community. It is a time for discussion about facing similar barriers and sharing successes. A time to spread joy, positivity, happiness, and hope. A time to receive praise and encouragement from peers.

Positive Choices is a time to focus on the good, celebrate the victories, and encourage others to continue making forward-moving choices for their futures.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join a Positive Choices workshop during the holidays. It reaffirmed the positive thinking and forward movement we ask from all guests, volunteers, staff and community members. The workshop leader asked “What is a positive choice you made in the last 24 hours?”

The room went quiet, waiting for someone to start.

When one person shared and the rest of the room felt comfortable sharing, too. One woman celebrated 40 days sober; a guest called his ex-wife and kids to wish them a Merry Christmas; another older gentleman bought his grandson a Christmas present. It was the first present he had bought for his grandson in five years.

The most humbling was an older woman that created her first email account the night before so she could start applying for jobs again.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the success, it’s the victory at the moment. What is important is that we are celebrating along the way. Whether you have been sober for a day or 40, each positive choice is a stepping stone, and we make sure to celebrate everyone’s successes at St. John’s Ministries.

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