Monthly Archives: July 2014

Life’s Lessons for our Children

by Dr. Chad Audi

Often, we may think that our children are too preoccupied with the latest technology, toys and clothing to pay attention to what is happening in the communities around them. But that isn’t always the case.

Take for instance 16-year-old Vivian Obia. She’s the high school student here in Detroit who started a movement of creating “blessing bags” for the city’s homeless. Vivian and several other teens from area churches stuff large Ziploc-type bags with items such as a small bottle of water, snacks, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, toiletries, and a scripture or inspirational quote. The bags are distributed through local Catholic parishes.

Twelve-year-old Robby Eimers is another example of a child who does not take his blessings for granted. Every weekend, the Michigan boy and his grandmother gather clothing, toiletries, backpacks, and food to take to the homeless in Detroit. Robby pays for many of the items himself, but his efforts have gotten a lot of attention and donations are flooding in from individuals and companies.

These are the kinds of stories I like to hear. Children and teens are being moved to action by what they see every day on the streets of urban America. Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), I am always pleased to see entire families volunteer to serve our homeless clients or renovate our shelter facilities. It’s an important lesson for our children — a lesson about humility and selflessness.

Blessed are the children who are making a difference in this world!

by Dr. Chad Audi

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Hiring our Military Veterans

by Dr. Chad Audi

There’s a new move afoot to hire our nation’s military veterans. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Hiring our Heroes” initiative helps veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. NBC News joined the campaign; you may have seen their television PSAs promoting job fairs across the country. And, some companies have developed their own initiatives aimed at hiring our nation’s heroes.

An estimated 722,000 U.S. veterans were unemployed last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s out of a total of 21.4 million veterans in this country. Regrettably, my home state of Michigan had the second highest unemployment rate for veterans at 10.6%.

So, why are so many of our veterans struggling to find employment?

There are numerous reasons. Sometimes, prospective employers don’t fully understand how the veteran’s military experiences can be applied to the open positions in their companies. Or, the veterans can’t talk about their multi-faceted work in the service because it was classified. Or, the veterans are hesitant to talk about themselves and sell an employer on their qualities. Or, in some cases, the veterans don’t have the up-to-date skills needed for today’s job market.

Of course, the expertise acquired in the military by these men and women is extraordinary — in both a professional and personal sense. But, they need assistance seeing how they can apply those skill sets to a career, plus learn new ones.

That’s why the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries recently partnered with the Detroit Training Center to provide our veterans with the training they need to land good-paying jobs. The veterans that we are helping in our joint program found themselves homeless and unsuccessful at making — and sustaining — a living.

We help reintegrate them back into civilian life and into the workforce. Our program offers training in blight removal, deconstruction, heavy equipment operation, facilities maintenance, and construction. We even help them find jobs after they complete the training.

I’m calling on all companies to do the right thing. Give a veteran a job.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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Caring People Do Exist

by Dr. Chad Audi

Make no mistake about it. There are still good people in this world. Take for instance, Juanita Vega of New York. She made headlines recently when she paid for the funeral of a homeless man whom she would always see in the neighborhood surrounding the Manhattan bank where she worked. Many mornings, Juanita had to awaken Richard Coleman as he slept in the vestibule of the bank. Richard had been a fixture in the area for nearly 20 years.

One day, after not seeing Richard for weeks, she learned from an online news site that the 62-year-old man had died. Rather than see him buried at the city’s public cemetery, Potter’s Field, Juanita pulled a lot of strings and used her own money to honor Richard one final time with a funeral and burial in a New Jersey cemetery.

Juanita is an example of a person who did something out of the goodness of her heart. Random acts of kindness, like hers, help to shine a light on the plight of the homeless.

You, too, can make a difference in the lives of our nation’s homeless through your local shelter or rescue mission. Donate care packages containing toiletries and other everyday necessities that we often take for granted. Volunteer your time to help serve meals or teach a vocational class. If you have construction or interior design skills, offer to give a facelift to  transitional and permanent housing facilities by painting, renovating or decorating. Make a cash gift to the organization to help with the multitude of expenses associated with caring for the homeless and putting them on a permanent path to success.

In addition, you can have a huge impact on the self-esteem of the homeless by treating them with dignity and respect. Acknowledge their value as human beings. They will appreciate your caring attitude and always remember your kindness.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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