The Herman Trend Alert
April 3, 2019
Recently, I was in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana for my high school reunion and encountered these very effective programs for rebuilding the damaged lives of women who were trafficked and abused and men who were homeless, drug-addicted, or incarcerated. Founded in 1989, The New Orleans Mission provides shelter, food, and spiritual guidance to a growing number of "broken individuals" in the region. Their core value is about changing lives and leading people to a loving relationship with God.
Thirty years ago, two very kind citizens of New Orleans, Vicky and Mike Grier realized there was no place for the homeless to go in the city. Working with their attorney Ashton Hardy, they bought a run-down furniture warehouse. Originally opened as a soup kitchen, the New Orleans Mission now delivers about 800 hot meals per day and the building now houses 200 men per night. Another building on the same block offers shelter to 90 women.
An emergency room for the disadvantaged
Men and women who come to the Mission go through a process of check-in and evaluation. They are given a meal and encouraged to get engaged to join their one-year program. Deliberately located in Lacombe, Louisiana, about 50 minutes from New Orleans, the men's discipleship program is called the Giving Hope Retreat. In this one-year program, the men are taught lawn-care, car-wash or how to lay floors, hang sheet-rock, or do interior or exterior house painting. The men enrolled are able to focus on their classes and recovery, while avoiding the noise, distractions, and temptations associated with the city. Recovery is not enough; the Mission wants them to be part of a community in a healthy way.
Their women's program is a real life-saver
Two other generous donors gave them a stunning 18-acre event center for their womenÕs program, called Lynhaven. The catering hall serves the residents of Hammond, Louisiana for weddings, sweet-sixteens, and other events. The women who also must make a one-year commitment, attend bible studies, and participate in community outreach. They can choose to receive training in hospitality, including cooking, serving, and managing an events facility. Gated and fenced, the women are protected, during their year of recovery and its location an hour outside of the city allows the women to focus on rebuilding their lives, after having been trafficked and/or abused. Another kind donor is contributing four six-bedroom homes and others are donating time and materials to renovate them. The women are given one-on-one counseling and encouraged to use the space between the events as healing time to help them reconnect with their families.
Graduation means a good-paying job back in the city
One of the Mission's Board Members, Marv Amari, owns 27 restaurants in the area, including Creole Cuisine, Kingfish, Ernst Café, Boulevards, and Broussards. If the women want a job after the program, there always an opening at one of Amari's many locations.
Only the beginning
In addition, the Mission offers teaching videos, Sunday Services, and their Angel Project offers "help, not handcuffs" for people with addictions. The future belongs to organizations like The New Orleans Mission that will embrace these low-tech, yet effective solutions.
Special thanks to David Bottner, CEO, for his time to give me the information I needed. For more information, visit their website.
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