Her search for meaningful work led her to volunteer at a Mission like ours. They found her help invaluable, and hired her to start their employment program, where she worked for 5 years. In 2010 she came to the Phoenix Rescue Mission to become the Career and Education Center Manager.
At the center Rhonda does an initial diagnostic assessment on every resident who enters the recovery program. She then assigns each man a curriculum designed just for them. There are different components to the training process which range from reading skills, writing ability and math skills to computer literacy, GED readiness and career development.
The homeless are empowered here. The curriculum is Bible-based, so time is also spent emphasizing character development, developing a strong work ethic, setting goals and learning healthy conflict resolution.
Says Rhonda, “Many of the men don’t know anything about conflict resolution; when they are upset they get into a fight. Conflict is good, and you can do it in a positive manner—we also teach self-discipline and how to respect authority.”
Rhonda wears many hats in her role here. She’s a coach, therapist, teacher, cheerleader and career advisor.
“There’s days when the men just need to talk, to say what’s in their hearts…They’re dealing with past issues and not able to remember anything they’ve learned in school as younger individuals and we have to work through that…as sobriety takes hold, their minds clear, they can actually start learning again.”
Truly a place of transformation, Rhonda’s heart is touched by everyone she helps, and works tirelessly to provide the resources the men need to enter the work force, but sometimes it’s an uphill battle. If they don’t have the basic requirements they can’t start the job.
Resources can be limited. “We always need flash drives for computers which will help the men with their resumés. And for many of the men if we just had work boots and tools, we could get them started right away. There are very skilled men here that just need basic tools.
Transportation is always an issue. We give the men bus passes, but if they have a 6 a.m. start time,the bus won’t get them there in time….they get discouraged.”
However, Rhonda is quick to say how thankful she is for all that God has provided through generous donors.
When asked what she might say to donors like you, she said, “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for us at the Mission. We utilize everything for the men’s best interests. Everyone here at the Mission is so thankful.” She also adds, “I feel so blessed to be a part of Phoenix Rescue Mission. I want everyone to realize it’s not just a food line. Although we serve 3 meals a day, this is truly a place of transformation that is able to help people change their lives.”