“Roger” is Dr. Roger Nooe, retired professor from the College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee. Roger has been conducting bi-annual studies on the homeless for somewhere close to 40 years. His research typically shows that many who are homeless, if not most, will be homeless three times before actually getting out of it.
But as the old axiom goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” In order to prove Roger wrong, to get something different, we have to do something different. Berea, our new personal development program, represents that something different. Berea takes its cues and direction from several areas and experts and is intended to provide an unprecedented response to someone who is homeless that allows them to bring their homelessness to an end, and in effect, prove Roger wrong.
Several resources have been used to formulate this new development program at KARM. One is the book “Toxic Charity,” by Bob Lupton. In it he puts forth a number of different concepts.
- No one is so poor that they don’t have something to contribute.
- People benefit most when they have the opportunity to participate in the very systems that were designed to help them.
- One way giving diminishes the dignity of the recipient while empowering the giver.
At KARM, we serve people with great promise and little or no ability to pay for what they receive. In this new development program approach we’ve taken into account the various principles previously mentioned and now have landed in a place where when someone comes to us in a crisis, we will throw every resource we have at their disposal and do everything we can to help them get on their feet so they can make a reasonable decision about next steps in their life.
Those who have the capacity to break their homeless cycle will enroll in this model which applies the principles “Work, Learn, Serve.” Giving them the opportunity to take more in-depth classes, participate in a variety of activities which include working 15-20 hours a week in the place that helps them (People benefit most when they have the opportunity to participate in the very systems that were designed to help them.) They will receive 240 hours of classroom instruction on various required and elective topics, perform 240 hours of legitimate work that provides them a job reference and a resume upon leaving, and 40-60 hours of community service.
While KARM will continue to provide a rescue response to everyone who comes through our doors, but once rescue has been achieved, a person has an opportunity to go into a development mode. There is an appropriate time for a crisis response, but then to progress, you must move to a development response to move forward.
Berea, KARM’s new ministry in the form of a personal development program, provides an unprecedented opportunity that will not only change the lives of individuals, it will circle back to “Proving Roger Wrong!”
You can help. As you support KARM through your prayers, your volunteer efforts, and your donations, together we can break the three-time cycle mentioned above, and make a person’s first experience with homelessness the last one.
To VOLUNTEER to help PROVE ROGER WRONG at KARM, please click here.
To DONATE to help PROVE ROGER WRONG, please click here.