“All who call upon me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor; (Psalm 91:15)
IFC Support Circles empower at-risk individuals --“Partners” -- who are transitioning out of homelessness to become independent and self-sufficient in the local community.
Each small Support Circle team forms an ongoing one-year relationship with a “Partner” who has been referred to the program by local service agencies. Each Team-Partner relationship is unique and is focused on the specific personal needs and attributes of the Partner. The relationship is mutually beneficia, and grounded in a covenant that sets forth the specific goals that will allow the Partner to become independent and remain independent while offering mutual love and care—the foundation for honoring the sacred dignity of the human person.
During the early part of the relationship, the Team and Partner will typically meet weekly to become better acquainted, and then will focus on securing household furnishings and moving the Partner and family to their first residence after a period of homelessness or dependence on local supportive housing. The team will sponsor social events with the Partner and family monthly and will offer ongoing friendship, guidance and counsel, education and other support in the Partner’s development of valuable life skills and self-advocacy. When appropriate, the team may assist the Partner in navigating helpful local community resources and may offer help from within the team in the areas of budgeting, parenting, organization, household management, planning for the future, conflict resolution, and job-finding skills.
Through these relationships in the program over the past 2 years, Partners have been able to:
Recruit additional teams from St. Thomas More Community to support a referred Partner.
The commitment is for one year, and the work is unique to each Partner and the makeup of the team members who volunteer.
Meetings take place at the sponsoring church's conference room or in a team member’s home. The rest of the year the ministry might include accompanying a Partner to doctor appointments, providing transportation to interviews, having socials or potlucks, providing tutoring for a child, or whatever activity is identified in the covenant to support the Partner.
Estimated Time Commitment
There is no requirement, and the time given by each team member often varies depending on what each team member might like to offer in the way of assistance. Typically the work involves a minimum of 2 hours per week, and the rest of the time fluctuates depending on the activity that is going on to support the Partner. Some weeks can be very time-consuming, followed by long periods of just “check-ins”. The teams are encouraged to work on a “point person” schedule to spread out the time commitment and allow the entire team to share as equally as possible in supporting the Partner.
No special skills are needed, but a willingness to make a commitment to an individual, and follow through with that commitment is paramount. Strong communication skills are desirable.
|Activities involved in volunteering for this ministry|
|√||Work can be done alone|
|√||Work can be done at home|
|√||Work may involve some strenuous activity|
|√||Activity is spiritual in nature|
|√||Activity is social in nature|
|√||Activity involves children or the youth|
|√||Activity involves teaching|
|√||Appropriate for singles|
|√||Appropriate for married couples|
|√||Appropriate for family members|