By Alexia Wood, Executive Director
I remember being a student as I watched Brett Favre run off the field, helmet stretched above his head, as he celebrated a touchdown in Superbowl 31. Just months earlier, Packer nation had tuned in to watch as the cameras had highlighted a different moment in his life: Favre was seeking inpatient treatment for his Vicodin addiction.
Though the stage was significantly smaller, we were able to witness a similar moment at the Micah Center a few weeks ago as the third cohort of Joseph project participants graduated from the program. One by one their names were called, and they walked to the front of the room to receive their graduation certificates. People were cheering and whistling as these men shared their moment for peers to see. In the previous weeks and months, each Joseph graduate had reached out to a case manager in pain. What they were doing had not been working and they needed change. Some struggled with addiction. Some with physical ailments. Each man stated they were willing to do whatever it took to create positive change in their lives. Now here we were, humble viewers, tuned in to watch a momentous occasion. Graduation certificates raised in the air. Childlike joy expressed across their faces. They had reached their goal and had reason to celebrate.
Because of your support, we’ve been able to become an even bigger cheering section in the lives of our guests. In the past year, our new initiatives include:
- The Joseph Project: a faith-based program that connects people to jobs. Sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson, participants go through a life skills training program and then are offered a chance to interview with companies looking to hire for fulltime positions at a living wage.
- COTS: A summer, safe sleeping program to ensure all homeless individuals have access to safe housing 365 days per year
- Wellspring: a female-specific daytime resource center that provides women a peaceful, caring place to seek support. Though Wellspring has been in operation for 20 years, it recently came under the umbrella of St. John’s, expanding our ability to connect women to empowerment programming.
Thank you for your continued support. Though we may not have national networks picking up the daily stories, know that you are making a difference in the lives of our homeless brothers and sisters on an ongoing basis. Together, we are St. John’s.