With the advent of COVID-19 and the donation of our facility to the Kent County Health Department on March 27th, Guiding Light programming had to temporarily pause accepting intakes and move existing clients off-site. In May, both the Recovery and Back to work programs were moved back to 255 Division Avenue and we began accepting new clients again, with updated safety and health protocols put into place.
Caleb was accepted into the Back to Work program a little over a month ago. He was struggling with a history of addiction and he was on probation for a heroin possession. Caleb needed a job and a place to stay to keep him off the streets and out of trouble. He came to Guiding Light after getting a call from his probation officer, during which he was told that if he didn’t find a permanent address, the probation officer would find one for him. The insinuation being, of course, that this hypothetical address would be the Kent County Jail.
Upon arriving at Guiding Light, Caleb was able to find an atmosphere of support and a refuge from the uncertainty of life on the streets. “I like that I feel welcome, and that people want to see me succeed. I have the opportunity to do better without all the outside noise and trouble that I normally would fall back into,” he said.
Men enrolled in our Back to Work program typically find work within the first week of being accepted. Caleb was taken aback by how quickly he was able to find employment with help from The Job Post recruiting specialist, Jeremy Hasty. “With my record I wouldn’t know where to start looking for work. I wasn’t here that long before Jeremy was like ‘hey, I got a job for you.’ ”
Back to Work is an important program that seeks to address the societal issues surrounding homelessness in our community. Men who come into the program, are given three square meals a day, a bed, and the resources they need to succeed. The only cost required for men to be accepted into our Back to Work program is their honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to change. In his desperation to find a home that wasn’t the inside of a jail, Caleb came to the conclusion that Guiding Light was clearly the best option for him. “Somewhere else, your rent is due, you have so many other stressors to deal with while also trying to stay clean. Here, you behave and show you’re motivated and want to do good and you get the help you need.”
Caleb thanks our donors “for giving me the opportunity to be here. Because there’s not a whole lot of other places that you could go, where you are going to have this much of a leg up.”
The resources, shelter, and hope provided by our Back to Work program truly does give men a “leg up” when it comes to changing their lives. There are countless stories of men in our community like Caleb who need our help, and we could not do it without the generous support of our donors, volunteers, and advocates. From all of us at Guiding Light, staff and clients alike, we are truly and sincerely grateful for your support.
THIS MEANS THAT ANYONE WHO BELONGS TO CHRIST HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON. THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17