Cause We Love – Guiding Light Mission

Sometimes a cause is so compelling, so basic, that we are forced to share it with the community.  Here is your monthly nonprofit discovery post in the series of Cause We Love.

More than 3.5 million people experience homelessness in America each year.

35% are families with children and 23% are U.S. Military Veterans.

Homelessness can happen to anyone.

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Guiding Light Mission, through its various programs, aims to create a healing experience that allows these unfortunate people to discover a new life in Christ, and re-engage with the community. The Mission offers shelter and food daily, but also a variety of programs that focus on helping the unfortunate to succeed once again in society.

  • Back to Work program allows men who are currently employed or seeking employment to live at the facility, to save money for a permanent residence. Meals are provided daily, and these men have full access to an online lab, phones and voicemails boxes, to help them pursue career opportunities. The program also offers a vocational job coach to assist in obtaining employment.
  • New Life in Christ program is aimed at men suffering from chronic homelessness, substance abuse, spiritual destitution and life challenges. There are up to 36 men in this program at any given time. Through counseling (individual and family), work therapy, bible study, and mentorship Guiding Light helps these men to re-establish their relationships with God, family, friends, and especially themselves, in an effort to re-engage with our community.

They also provide emergency services to men before they enter one of their re-engagement focused programs, which resulted in 27,908 overnight stays in 2012. This service offers housing from 8 p.m.- 8 a.m. and 24 hour housing during severe weather. They offer three meals per day, and over 1,000 voicemail boxes so that these transients can stay in touch with friends and family.  Emergency food baskets are also offered courtesy of United Way and Spectrum N.O.W. programs.

Men who participate in these programs are very thankful for the opportunity, which inspires them to give back to the community through various volunteer opportunities. Groups from Guiding Light have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity; Clean up, Green Up; The Mental Health Foundation; and The Brian Diemer Amerikam 5K Race. These men know where they would be without the help of the community, so it is only right that they return the favor.

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credit: mlive.com

Jessica Manfrin, development director at Guiding Light Mission emphasizes “Our goal is to remove any barriers that may prevent you from successfully re-engaging in our community.” So how can you aid in the removal of barriers to re-engaging Grand Rapidians?

Annual meal

credit: mlive.com

Learn more to spread the mission: GUIDING LIGHT MISSION.

Donate big bucks head to: LIFE ON THE STREET.

Volunteer your time and heart:  VOLUNTEER.

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