The St. John’s Model is simple. Regardless of where you have come from, regardless of the choices you have made, and regardless of what led you to this position, you have dignity and worth. You are loved. We welcome individuals to come right as they are. There’s no expectation that someone “clean up” prior to seeking out services. We love them just as they are but then also love them too much to desire that they stay in the position they are in.
We start with a mat on the floor. It’s not fancy but it’s warm and it comes with a hearty meal, generously donated by volunteers. It’s harm reduction in its simplest form. At a basic level, we want to ensure that no individuals are on the streets of Green Bay in the harsh winter months. But, from the minute a case manager meets with the guest to complete an intake, we are providing wraparound services to ensure that the guest is offered every opportunity to seek out the resources necessary to take steps towards self-sufficiency. This includes drug and alcohol classes, mental health counseling, on-site medical care, services to help those seeking and those who have secured employment, and opportunities to increase one’s sense of self-worth through giving back. We offer guests the opportunity to move off the mat on the floor and into their own bed as they take these steps.
During the day our shelter doors close to encourage guests to get out and work towards their goals. We then open The Micah Center, our daytime resource center, as one of the resources available. At The Micah Center, guests again are welcomed with open arms. We want them to have a sense of belonging and do that with a strategic drop-in component. A game area, coffee break zone, TV room and library offer guests a place to go that is (again) warm and safe. But, once in our doors our Case Managers and other staff are again loving these guests too much to desire for them to stay in the position they’re in. A computer lab, education lab, doctor’s office, mental health counseling, drug and alcohol classes and multiple daily workshops await guests ready to take the steps necessary in a supportive environment.
St. John’s and The Micah Center have found that this approach works! Guests have often been turned down and away for so long that they’ve lost hope in themselves, hope in their future and hope in tomorrow looking any brighter than today. By loving individuals right where they are at and building intentional relationship with them, we are able to help them start believing again.