OWENSBORO, Ky. (5/28/13) – On the ninety-second anniversary of its founding last week, workers, volunteers, and residents at Owensboro’s Boulware Mission gathered at Settle Memorial United Methodist Church to talk with the community about the mission and its needs in working to end homelessness.
Emcee Kirk Kirkpatrick kicked off the program with an introduction of the various workers and volunteers at the Thursday morning breakfast.
“When’s the last time you had the chance to change someone’s life?” Kirkpatrick asked the crowd.
Leigha Taylor, Director of Development for Boulware, said homelessness can happen to just about anyone under the right set of circumstances.
“Job loss, family disintegration, illness, mental illness, any one of us in this room… could end up homeless,” she said. “We have programs to help overcome those reasons.”
Taylor said 97 percent of those served by Boulware are homeless due to substance abuse issues, which has led to the development of a treatment program for people with addictions. Boulware operates an on-site licensed treatment program, and employs a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
Other programs offered, Taylor said, include GED tutoring, help with community college enrollment, instruction on healthy living and nutrition, anger management sessions for parents, and financial literacy and training. Encouraging clients to be self-sufficient at managing their money is obviously a key focus.
“We teach them how to budget,” she said. "We teach them how to distinguish between needs and wants. We help them come up with a plan to manage their debt."
“Anything our client needs, we try to help them become self-sufficient, productive citizens,” Taylor added. “These are people who come in with nothing. We help them turn their life around.”
Three guest speakers at the event offered encouragement and support for Boulware. One, a former client of the facility, said he first went there on a court order and wasn’t sure what to expect.
“The people there made me feel at home,” John Mattingly said. “They gave me chores that teach responsibility and tools to live everyday life. It’s hard to put into words. Take this stuff and learn from it. It’s a good place.”
Mattingly said while there, he completed the agency’s treatment abuse program and went to work for a local company, whose vice-president and general manager also spoke on behalf of Boulware.
Jeff McMain with Kentucky Plate Glass called the opportunity to help Boulware clients “rewarding,” noting that his company currently employs four full-time people who came to Boulware for help.
“It’s rewarding to see them gain self-esteem,” he said.
Tommy Cox, who asked to speak, said he’d gone through tough times when he was younger and that he wished he’d had access to a facility like Boulware then. He encouraged people to support the work of the mission.
Boulware Mission is gearing up for several fundraisers this summer, including a golf scramble in August as well as a “Dancing With Our Stars” event at which several local professionals will dance with professional dance trainers.
To learn more about Boulware or to make a donation, go to www.boulwaremission.org.
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