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News and Updates from Serving USA

SERVING USA NEWS
SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE

The 3rd, annual star-studded blues concert to benefit Freedom House, Northern California’s first “safe house” and long-term aftercare program of its kind for adult female survivors of human trafficking.

“Blues Saves Lives” will feature a dynamic range of critically acclaimed and award-winning blues artists such as Tommy Castro, Terrie Odabi with Terry Hiatt, Tia Carroll, Marina Crouse, and The Lucky Losers. 

 
Sunday, October 6, 2019

Poor House / The Studio (adjacent to the Poor House Bistro)
87 S. Autumn Street, San Jose

Doors: 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm

Tickets: $25 online; $30 Door

$100 % of all proceeds go to Freedom House
Live auction and silent auction! 
 
Ros Nideffer, two-time French Open Doubles Champion, came up with the idea of Love40 three years ago. When someone is serving in a tennis match and they’re down Love-40, they are on the brink of defeat - they have zero points and their opponent only needs one more point to win.
When someone makes a comeback like that, it’s unbelievable! The name honors the inspiring and courageous comeback stories of survivors who are so close to losing the fight, but through hope, strength, and determination, they overcome. They exhibit resiliency in the face of immense adversity. 

Let's celebrate a generosity that changes lives... one woman at a time.

Saturday, October 5th, Generate Hope is hosting its Legacy of Hope Gala at the Hyatt Regency, La Jolla, California. 

For more information and tickets, click here.
Join Forever Found for an evening of food and drinks as they raise funds. Their work addresses the prevention of the sale of women through grassroots awareness and the development of local programs that will significantly reduce our trafficking problem right here in California and around the world.
 
5:30pm - 7:00pm - Cocktail Hour & Silent Auction
7:00pm - 10:00pm - Dinner Program/Live Auction/Guest Speaker

$125 Single Ticket / $1200 Table of 10 / $1500 VIP Table

Ticket sale ends on September 30th so get yours today
 
Freedom Through Education

A common thread in the organizations that Serving USA supports is that most of them provide transitional housing.  Freedom Through Education (FTE) is no exception, but its name reflects a truth that every partner embraces – while housing, food, and jobs are important physical needs to address in a person’s life, real change requires education.  If people are prisoners of their brokenness, then freedom must come from transformation by the renewing of one’s mind as the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome.

Bill Lane founded FTE in 2006 while doing ministry at San Quentin for a group of lifers.  He asked them, “How do we break the cycle of incarceration and recidivism?”  

Their consensus answer was that education was the path to true freedom.  So FTE was born as a non-profit programming organization.  It was a labor of love and calling.  Bill and his wife Chris poured in their own money in the beginning.
FTE continued to grow over the years and in 2014 they acquired a 10-unit apartment that houses 36 clients.  Two years later they opened a clinic to provide one-on-one and group counseling.  To that, they added a duplex to house 12 more clients and have since added four houses to provide beds for an additional 30 residents.  In total FTE has a capacity of 78 beds, which includes 70 spaces for men and eight for women.

FTE recognizes that a program that serves one client may not suit another so 18 beds are dedicated to a Sober Living Environment, 30 are set aside for Transitional Housing, and 22 are for self-pay Transitional Living.  To support the breadth of programming and education FTE employs an AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) counselor, case managers, house managers and an executive assistant.  FTE has contracts with a number of state and regional organizations to help fund their important work.

Bill is always looking forward to understanding what new services should be added to the mix to enhance the opportunities for success.  Bill hopes to grow their out-patient offerings to reach the broader community.  Plus, with the addition of a women’s home earlier this year, FTE hopes to make more inroads to address this important need.  

Bill is also considering creating a community for ongoing living where residents are resources for one another.  If education is a core value, being a lifelong learner is a necessity.

As Bill approaches retirement the next chapter for FTE is already being planned.  FTE CEO Johnny Lujan will take on increasing responsibility as Bill transitions into more of a consulting role by mid 2020.
One shining example of importance of Freedom Through Education is client DeShawn Morris. DeShawn was imprisoned at 18 years old and served nearly 30 years before being released in March 2017.  

“When you’re inside, everything seems simple.  But that’s not the way it is.  You need a history of paying bills which you don’t have.  To get an apartment, you need evidence of paying rent on time.  It feels like you are standing in quicksand,” said DeShawn.

He added, “FTE gave me the opportunity to beg for a job – which I did – versus going back to what I used to know.  And I refuse to do that.”

DeShawn showed up every day at Goodwill until the hiring manager saw his earnestness and gave him a job.  He performed so well they promoted him within a few months and they sent him to various Goodwill stores to train others.  After two years DeShawn left Goodwill to work in the Grocery Outlet warehouse. Once again, his hard work was rewarded with a promotion to supervisor. DeShawn has been active in the Anti Recidivism Coalition.  As a result, DeShawn has recently given his notice at the Grocery Outlet as his involvement with ARC increases.  He routinely has speaking engagements through ARC.

DeShawn sees housing and education as having “a left hand and a right hand.”  Both are necessary for providing the foundation necessary for individuals to apply their maximum effort and energy to moving forward in life with purpose.  He says people often think there are three ways of approaching life – “the right way, the wrong way, and your way which is another wrong way.”

He’s standing in quicksand no more.  He began as a client at FTE.  Now he’s a star house manager. Plus he’s consulting, and he’s being invited by the FTE board to participate more strategically in the leadership of the organization.  Oh, he’s also finishing his research into, and about to launch, a honey bee business.  A tireless worker and voracious learner, DeShawn is experiencing true freedom through education and hard work.
New Hope Christian Ministries

In life people often reap the seeds they sow. Sometimes those seeds produce painful consequences. But other times, when the seeds are good and healthy and the sower tends to the growth, the fruit can be transformative, joyous, and life-altering.

New Hope Christian Ministries in Boise, Idaho is a powerful reentry ministry that began with the seeds of God’s prompting and has grown into a robust program and housing solution for men coming out of incarceration and into a challenging and uncertain future. One of New Hope’s leaders, Doug Hardy, was attending church with his wife Luanne when the pastor invited members to consider serving in prison ministry.

In 2005 Doug responded to the call and began ministering to a group of inmates at Idaho Maximum Security Institution (IMSI). The program was called IMSI Hope Community Phase I and one of the inmates was Mark Renick who had been serving his latest sentence there since 2004. By the time Mark was released in 2011 he had a new calling – providing support and resources for those following after him.
Doug and Mark teamed up to continue the work that began with the seeds of that initial calling. Doug, who is the director of a non-profit called Provenance that provides reentry housing, and Mark began IMSI Hope Community Phase II to provide the programming and resources for the men in those houses as well as supporting other returning citizens needing reentry help. Together, those two efforts make up New Hope Christian Ministries, a comprehensive housing, programming, and resources organization devoted to helping men reenter society after incarceration.

In the case of IMSI Hope Community Phase II, Mark provides vouchers for clothes upon an inmate’s release, rides to important appointments and first-day activities such as checking in with parole, buying initial food items and helping identify job opportunities in the area. Mark also leads a class called Victory Over Sin to help returning citizens make healthy decisions from a sound spiritual framework.
Provenance provides transitional housing in a variety of residences. Provenance’s first house opened in 2010 and it provides 11 beds for guests. In 2013 a transition house supporting eight SO (sexual offense) clients opened and in 2016 another house provided beds for an additional nine SO clients. Finally, in 2018 a fourth house was opened supporting 10 SO guests.  In total Provenance provides 38 beds for transitional housing.

Besides Doug and Mark, New Hope employs Doug’s wife Luanne to handle administration and Dan McIntosh to help oversee the houses and provide encouragement, Bible study and mentoring for the men. Doug and Mark also get the word out about their ministry in a unique way. Doug hosts a daily drive-time radio show on a local Christian station and Mark has a weekend show focusing on reentry issues. Mark is also moving forward in getting certified to offer TUMI classes in the Idaho prison that once housed him.

There have been many men helped by their ministry.

A client named Mike said, “My experience at Provenance house has been great. I was in prison for five years and if it wasn't for Provenance I would still be there with no place to go. I am so grateful and thankful for Provenance House and the people who run it are good Christian people with big hearts.”

Another guest, Jake, said, “I entered Provenance Housing after I just got out of rehab 5 months earlier; yet, I was still using. It’s when I got to Provenance that things started turning around. Provenance and the residents living at the house held me accountable for my actions, which in turn, helped me quit using.”
Doug relates a victory over a very challenging situation. He said,

“Very recently there was a guest in our housing who was tough to reach due to a language barrier and some challenging behavior on his part. We knew his love was Spanish music and playing the guitar so we sought to make a connection with him in that way. The challenge was finding the right person to fill that role in Boise. That's where Ben came in.”

Ben explained,

“Doug was hoping to connect a former inmate with someone who could speak Spanish and play guitar. Since I'd lived two years in Guadalajara, Mexico, I speak Spanish and have a pretty good feel for the Mexican culture. I also play guitar and build musical instruments, so that was a good fit as well.

“When I contacted Miguel I wasn't sure how he'd feel about meeting with someone whose background was so completely different than his own. In fact, it would have been hard to find two more unlikely people to strike up a friendship. From our ages to our nationalities, family backgrounds, education, we shared nothing that would normally draw people together. But music was the vehicle to start the conversation. He shared a song he'd written while in prison. He opened up about a lot of difficult things in his life, but at the same time, there was an optimism in his voice. It's been a real joy that God has brought us together. Pray that over time our friendship will continue to deepen and that he'll develop a close walk with the Lord.”


New Hope Christian Ministries is proving to be good soil for seeds that continue to be planted, producing many times what was sown.
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