Almost a year ago, I wrote about a local ministry that has changed many lives.
Because the measure of any ministry is the lives it has changed.
This week marks a milestone for a local effort working to influence young people growing up in dysfunction.
This organization began as an after school outreach to youth.
But some of the kids had no place to go once they turned 18. A case in point:
A boy participated in the after-school ministry The Door. He found food and mentoring there. Because of the encouragement he received, he finished high school and got a job.
When he came home one day, he found his clothes in plastic bags on the front porch.
His success threatened the household where he’d grown up. If he stayed, the family would lose benefits.
He returned to the place that had fed and mentored him into success. The ministry leader Dave Taylor was frustrated to see that no program offered help to someone without addiction or mental health issues.
Dave spent the next few years working to open Lionheart, a home for young men who “age out” of their own families and find themselves with no place to go. Now they have a place.
Lionheart is an 18- to 24-month long program that provides a home, food, training, transportation, and mentoring. High school graduation is required, so kids in the youth ministry can see that they can have independence–if they work for it.
Lionheart teaches young men how to make basic electrical, plumbing, and carpentry repairs–so when they get their own places, they can take care of them.
Lionheart teaches wise use of money through Financial Peace University.
Lionheart teaches interview skills so these men can find work.
And Lionheart helps them save money, shop for cars, find apartments. The ministry gives them the beds they’ve been sleeping on when they go to their new places. They can leave not only with a bed, but also with a dresser, a desk, a toolbox, and up to $7,500 they’ve saved from working.
Now, Lioness, a similar program for young women has two participants. They graduated from high school this week. They go to work next week.
During their 18-24 month stay in the Lioness home, they will learn basic home repair and maintenance just as their Lionheart counterparts do, so, as Taylor puts it, “no one will have to be dependent on a bad relationship.”
HEFT represents the goals of both Lionheart and Lioness ministries. Housing, Employment, Finances, Transportation.
The ministries support the residents with mentoring and transportation to and from work until they can support themselves and provide their own transportation.
Taylor points out that the program costs the ministries $18,000 per year per participant. He compares that to $1.5 million the government pays over the lifetime of a dependent person.
Government welfare programs are designed to support and provide needs for today. But they do little to prepare recipients for tomorrow. There is no government bridge between dependence and independence.
The Door, Lionheart, and now Lioness provide that bridge to self-sufficiency.
The measure of any ministry is the lives it has changed.
Dave Taylor, a lionheart opening doors of opportunity through life-changing service.