Coffee with a Purpose; Changing Lives at Discipleship House

Scott adding some pumpkin spice flavoring to newly roasted beans

Scott adding some pumpkin spice flavoring to newly roasted beans

Some people need coffee in their lives every morning just to shake off the cobwebs. But for a group of men at Jericho’s Discipleship House, coffee does so much more; it helps transform their lives.

Samaritan Coffee Roasters is operated by men who live in Discipleship House, Jericho’s residential program for men transforming their lives after homelessness and addiction. So, in addition to engaging in counseling and other activities to aid in their recovery, they’re also taste-testing coffee blends, adjusting timing and temperature of the roasting machines, and learning about small-scale production and marketing in a work-therapy program.

“They are very passionate about what they’re doing, and take it very seriously,” said Mark Grasso, Jericho’s Director of Operations and supervisor of Discipleship House. “The main benefit, though, is that they’re learning some valuable skills that will position them well when they return to the job market. This will help them get a long-term position, or even open up their own coffee-roasting business.”

For Scott Eggen, who’s been a resident of Discipleship House for nearly a year, roasting coffee has given him another skill to put on his resume, which already includes heating & air conditioning and electrician.

“If my heat, air and electrical business ever fails, I can do coffee roasting,” he said with a laugh. “Being part of this process, though, it gives you accountability. And it’s something else to learn, so I am bettering myself. It builds skills not just in making coffee but in being a productive member of society. And I just love doing it.”

Samaritan Coffee Roasters has another purpose too, and that is to help fund Discipleship House, which houses up to 15 men at a time in a long-term, faith-based recovery program. Because the business is still new, it has generated only limited revenue, but the plan is to continue marketing the product to local retailers and eateries.

Samaritan Roasters packaging.jpg

The buzz it’s creating is sure to help their cause; Samaritan Coffee Roaster was recently featured in Connecticut Magazine.

Today, Samaritan Coffee Roasters’ House Roast (a medium roast) and its pumpkin spice seasonal blend are on sale at three Danbury locations - Beautiful News bookstore, Hustle Hard Nutrition, and Rumors European Café - as well as at its office at 22 Maple Avenue, Danbury.  You can also order online through its Facebook page: facebook.com/samaritanroasters/

 

President's Corner: "God is on the Move"

Carrie headshot - Cropped.jpg

God is on the move. There no questioning the way He’s been leading and guiding me and Jericho’s leaders over the past year. At times it’s been exhilarating and wonderful; other times exhausting and difficult. But always, it’s encouraging to know that we are in God’s will, doing what He alone has called us to do - and that is to serve Danbury youth at risk and, by extension, their families.

With your volunteer and financial support, we’re more than ready to expand our reach and increase our impact in the city of Danbury.  

This doesn’t signal that what we’ve done before – like operate a school or a homeless shelter – was wrong or misguided. It wasn’t; it was good, and lives have been transformed. But what Jericho 2.0 is about is God calling us back to the heart of our mission. It’s about “you can’t stay where you are and go with God.” God is moving! And He’s saying, “Are you going to keep up?” Our answer is “yes!”

God never released us from the original call to serve youth. We branched out from that in many ways; and some of those ways didn’t serve our community most effectively. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.

So, we’re recalibrating. Today, Jericho stands ready to close the achievement gap among youth in Danbury, via academic support and healthcare. We stand ready to enter Danbury public schools, invited by administrators to come alongside even more youth - before they fall behind - with Reading Buddy programs. We stand ready to invite those same kids to Jericho for even more tutoring, mentoring, and faith-growing programs.

By extension, we stand ready to serve the parents and families of our youth with services directed at food security, addiction recovery, and equipping the homeless - because kids can’t succeed in families that are broken.

Together, we stand ready for such a time as this. Your partnership will change lives, and it will transform the heart of our city. We’re honored and humbled to do what God has called us to do.

I pray you’re with us for this journey. With your support – financially and/or by volunteering as a Reading Buddy, mentor, or tutor – we’ll be positioned to transform a city, one person at a time.

To learn more about Jericho 2.0 and give a gift in support of our new focus, visit: jerichopartnership.org/jericho-20

To volunteer as a Reading Buddy, mentor, or tutor, contact volunteer@jerichopartnership.org

Jericho Announces Shelter Closure

Shelter.JPG

The homeless shelter at 13 Maple Avenue in Danbury, operated by Good Samaritan Mission, will close permanently in two stages this summer.

The day-time engagement shelter will end operations on Friday, August 2; the 14-bed overnight shelter’s last night will be Saturday, August 31.

The closure stems from Jericho’s mission realignment and renewed focus to serve Danbury’s at-risk youth and, by extension, their families.

Jericho will continue to serve the homeless population in Danbury in two ways: 1) CleanStart, a program where homeless men and women receive job training/experience by engaging in projects organized by the city of Danbury and led by Jericho volunteers, and 2) Discipleship House, a Jericho-run residential program for homeless and addicted men located at 22 Maple Ave. (This program had been operated by Jericho Ministry Partner Good Samaritan Mission until its recent consolidation with Jericho.)

“We are still called to provide life-transformational services and programs for Danbury’s homeless, but our Executive Board and I have determined – after much due diligence and prayer – that the programs that truly lead to life-change are CleanStart and Discipleship House, and not the shelter itself,” said Jericho President Carrie L. Amos. “At a time when excellent stewardship of our resources and adherence to our mission are both vital, we must allocate our time, talent and treasure to the programs that are proven paths to authentic transformation for homeless and addicted people. We had to make a difficult decision.”

Jericho staff is working to place our regular guests in other local or regional shelters; a small number of them will be invited to move into Discipleship House and engage in the long-term addiction recovery program there.

For more information, contact Mark Grasso at (203) 748-4764 or Michael Ronan or Lisa Siedlecki at Jericho at (203) 791-1180.

Jericho Partnership Announces a Consolidated Staff and Ministry Model

IMG_3759.jpg

It’s time. Our long season of transition is about to culminate with a new season of ministry known as Jericho 2.0!

This new version of Jericho Partnership symbolizes a renewed focus on the heart of our mission - which has always been to serve Danbury’s youth at risk, and by extension, their families. We’re not being called away from that, and in fact, we’re going to laser-focus on it and serve even more youth in a variety of wonderful ways through academic support (tutoring, summer learning, and school-based Reading Buddies), food security, and family support.  We believe God has been preparing us for years for such a time as this!

To operate most efficiently within this new focus, Jericho Partnership is moving to a consolidated staffing and ministry model, in which the staffs of the Partners Ministries that Jericho mobilized – Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries and Good Samaritan Mission – will become part of Jericho Partnership. Samaritan Health Center is also a mobilized Partner, so we’ll begin operating together in a consolidated manner, however, at this time we aren’t sure when they would formally and legally join the Jericho team.

Jericho Ministry Partners that are not part of the consolidation will continue to be embraced and engaged in a covenant relationship together, as we have done through the years.

To facilitate this new organizational structure, Jericho President Carrie L. Amos has announced the following staffing changes, which have been considered and prayed over for many months; in fact, we have sought God’s leading on every change and decision we have made.

  • Mark Lounsbury, currently Stewardship Coordinator, has been named Jericho’s Director of Youth Ministries, with oversight for all youth-related ministry activities; lead staff members of consolidated youth ministry partners will report directly to him.

  • Mark Grasso, currently Executive Director of Good Samarian Mission, will be Jericho’s Director of Operations, with oversight responsibility for Jericho’s adult ministries, which are currently under review and are being reduced), as well as internal operations.

  • Neil Tan, who has served as the Interim Chairman of Jericho’s Exec Board since Bill Beattie stepped away due to his health, will be rotating out of the Interim Board Chairman role. Bill Beattie, whose recovery has been nothing short of miraculous, has been asked by the Executive Board if he would return as Interim Transitional Chairman of the Board during this season of change (beginning September 1). Bill has accepted. We are so thankful!

In additional to Mark G., Mark L. and Carrie Amos, the new Jericho Management Team also includes Lisa Siedlecki, our full-time Director of Marketing & Communications, and Michael Ronan, our part-time Admin & HR Manager.  

Please keep Jericho Partnership, those we serve, and those who support us in your prayers during this new season of expansion and refocusing. 

Announcement: New Focus on Expanded Ministry to Students

IMG_1155.jpg

Jericho Partnership is launching a comprehensive overhaul of its services to Danbury’s at-risk youth, to multiply the number of students it can reach with tutoring & mentoring programs and greatly increase its impact among young people in the city.

Leaders from Jericho and Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries have spent the last year talking with key community stakeholders and assessing both academic and socioeconomic needs of Danbury’s youth to determine the most effective way to use its resources to transform more lives.

They concluded that the best way to reach potentially hundreds more students in the city is to focus efforts on expanding tutoring, mentoring, public school-based reading and academic support via its existing CityServe and core programming.

Tutor1.jpg

Jericho’s youth ministry services will feature after-school academic tutoring programs and summer learning programs for at-risk students in K-12, life skills, Reading Buddy and academic support programs for students in up to six city elementary schools this coming year (a dramatic increase from the current three school Jericho is working with now), and center-based mentoring programs for girls and boys in grades 6 through 12.

To focus on these areas of great need and impact, Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries will close Pathways Academy, a middle school for boys it has operated since 2008, at the end of the current 2018-19 academic year. 

“While the decision to close the school was a very difficult one, we’re moving ahead certain that the decision will pave the way for us to expand our ministry to students in Danbury with tutoring, academic support, and mentoring services in an impactful way,” said Jericho Partnership President Carrie L. Amos. “We’re going to be in a position to reach many more students. And, our current Academy students will still be among those we serve.”

The Academy is operating this year with just two grades (7th and 8th) instead of the usual 6th-8th grades. Leaders decided at the end of last school to open this year with a limited enrollment so that, if the outcome of the year-long evaluation was to close the school, fewer students would be affected. Jericho and Pathways leaders will work with the parents of the 15 current 7th graders to place them in schools best suited to meet their individual needs and are committed to supporting the transition in any way possible. These students will remain connected with Jericho Youth Ministries through its mentoring and after-school tutoring programs.

“We continue to feel a tremendous sense of calling to serve the youth of our city, and this change will allow us to reach many more students while increasing our commitment to excellence in stewardship,” said Bill Beattie, the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Jericho Partnership and Pathways Danbury Youth Ministries. “Recognizing that we must be good stewards of the resources God has sent our way, we determined that closing the school and instead expanding our academic support services will allow us to make more of an impact with our kids we are called to serve. We’ll do a better job meeting a growing need while remaining financially strong for the long term.”

“We’ve made a significant impact with the things that we set out to do with our school,” said Cedric Rice, founding and current Principal of The Academy. “It’s clear from statistics we’re seeing in Danbury that we’ve helped close the achievement gap among students here. While we’ll no longer be providing basic 6th-8th grade education, we will still be in the business of helping to develop our youth.”

The "Economy" of Success

tokens.png

Token Economy is much more than dollars. It is an economic system that is used to teach our Pathways' Academy students about the important relationship between hard-work and getting paid, the importance of saving for the things that have lasting value, and how their own character will be a significant factor in their ability to get the best employment opportunities in the future.

We call them “Token Economy Dollars” because our monetary system is based on dollars and we want the experience to be as real as possible. A student could earn as much as $4,000 in a school calendar (average is half that amount), assuming a limited number of deductions. We used to given each student a check every week, with tax deductions, but we found it became too cumbersome to manage. Now we provide monthly awards base on visible evidence of student performance and citizenship.

Stocking the school store with items of value to the students is key to the effectiveness of the program. When the store has low priced items in it that are easily consume, student will spend what little money they have on this low-hanging fruit. When there are high-value items available student will save their dollars to make a wiser spending decision. Items like a bicycle ($3,000 TE), $50-Game Stop Card ($600 TE), or an Amazon Fire Tablet Computer ($1,000 TE).

Student are given TE dollars each month based on their citizenship, academic performance, and special awards by teachers. Student can also give their peers a peer grant for “Man of Honor” recognition. The biggest awards are given for citizenship. 

- Principal/Math Teacher Cedric Rice

 

Kolby's Story

Kolby I am J.jpg

KOLBY'S STORY

Kolby Sinclair, 17

2018 Danbury High School Graduate, GPA: 3.34

Will attend Quinnipiac College, International Business Major

“At one point in my life, I was a loud-mouth, always getting in trouble. My S.A.Y. Yes! tutor and my mentor helped me realize that acting out wasn’t cool, that I wasn’t going to anywhere in life with that attitude. He taught me the importance of knowledge. If I didn’t have a mentor, I wouldn’t be doing as well in school, and going to college. Instead of studying for tests, I’d probably be out partying. My mentor definitely changed the direction of my life.”

Kolby’s story is representative of the nearly 50 at-risk boys and girls whose lives are being transformed through Jericho’s one-to-one mentoring programs; our vision is to have 100 as we grow. Your contribution supports our various programming for youth and adults.