Pastor Jim Wiley, Assistant Pastor at First Assembly of God, Brookfield, volunteers as a Team Leader for CleanStart, the joint Jericho/City of Danbury initiative that helps our homeless neighbors learn job readiness skills by engaging in clean-up and other projects on city property. We asked him to share how being part of this ministry has impacted him.
One of the first things that came to me when this pilot came about was, “what a wonderful way to help instill value and worth into an individual.” So often, our friends within the homeless community have been given labels – all too frequently, undeserved. But they constantly hear this, and after a while, they sometimes can’t help but to fall into the trap where they may actually believe it. This program gives them the opportunity to dispel those labels, and prove to their accusers, to those around them, and even to themselves that they are of value. That they are of worth. That they can contribute to his community if only given a chance.
Isn’t that, in part, what Jericho is about? Giving second chances? Giving folks an opportunity to prove themselves? Since I have been involved with The Jericho Partnership, it’s always been about transformation. For the community, yes, but it always starts with the individual. The CleanStart workers I have been serving alongside have worked hard, with grateful and appreciative hearts, to put their best foot forward, welcoming this transformational opportunity to move themselves forward. Men and women, saving money, moving out of homelessness, making the best of the doors that have been opened for them.
Praise God that Jericho continues to be an organization that God works through, to open these doors and to provide hope for the hopeless. God does indeed transform ashes into beauty. I have seen it firsthand through Jericho’s CleanStart Program.
CleanStart will continue through the end of October, and we still need volunteers. If you would like to invest a few hours a week working alongside people who are working to improve their lives, contact Volunteer Coordinator Angie Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.