ADVOCACY AND MENTORING

alyseNot everything in Community Ministry happens within the confines of Trinity. True Christian action involves more than just opening doors. It involves being there as our kids walk their life's journey, and to help them do that we offer a number of services that go beyond traditional programming.

TED Project (Trinity Educational Development Project):  Many students struggle at school or simply getting to school. We attempt to stay on top of attendance issues, grades and behaviors. We are available to attend school conferences with parents or students. We attempt open communication with school personnel and families to discuss issues and decisions regarding suggested consequences for choices kids have made or simply to be updated on the problems, issues or successes of our kids. Parents and many school staff welcome this involvement with their students. Our students love to see a familiar face in their school buildings. Simply by showing up once in a while, we let the youth know we value them and their education. We hope it makes a difference.

Mentoring:  
Building relationships by listening and being a consistent presence are some of the most important things we offer. This can happen by an adult assigned to a specific student or spontaneously with students and adults working in the program. It is important for kids to have a positive adult in their lives either to bounce around life questions or simply know an adult cares enough to go to one of their sporting events or take time for a birthday dinner with them.

Court System:  Often times our teens find themselves in trouble with the legal system. They frequently request our presence with them at court hearings. When we hear one of our students is in detention we attempt to make contact with their family and their probation officer. It is not our intention to be "nice church folk" that pardon everything a child does, but it is our intent to walk the journey with our kids and while holding them accountable, give support and information as requested. We have established relationships with many probation officers and other court officials.

Other services we provide or provide community resources to address are:

Housing: 
Often kids struggle with housing issues. They may no longer be welcome in their homes, they have chosen to leave due to unmanageable situations, or their families have been evicted. In any case, we provide resources to them. We network with many local agencies and try to stay current with such things as Department of Human Services or where to find the most up to date apartment listings. If a child is homeless, we suggest and sometimes deliver them to temporary housing.

Family Support:  Family support is a big piece of what we offer. We connect with many parents over a variety of situations in which kids find themselves. Our parents are the best parents they know how to be and are open to suggestions. Some choose to call or connect on a regular basis. Some call when there is a crisis and others respond very positively to calls made to them when we feel kids are struggling for whatever reason, i.e. behavior, health, etc.

Substance Abuse:  
If we feel any of our kids are "using" we typically confront them and offer support in getting the help they may require. Although it is hard for students to understand the long- term implications of using or understand the consequences of participation in the use or sale of illegal substances, we do not hesitate to discuss or seek help from community resources. Many kids are open to this.

Counseling:  Trinity is a place kids can feel heard. Many of our students simply need a safe place to discuss issues they face at home, school, or with friends. Some need time with a counselor if issues are deeper. We offer what we feel we can support. If we feel we are not equipped to handle specific situations, we refer them to outside agencies in the community that specialize in their specific area of concern. We offer whatever support we can throughout the process.

Taxes:  
Volunteer assistance is available upon request for tax information or the filling out of student's 1040's.

Vocational:  Many times teens are looking for jobs or making work/career decisions. Time is spent in discussion regarding the goals of the kids, what their strengths and interests are, geographic boundaries as they relate to transportation or comfort levels, scheduling availability and job seeking skills. Once they are employed, support is available ongoing to be successful. This can be on site or take the form of "coaching" outside the work environment. This is provided so kids can learn the hidden rules of middle class society and assist employers with an understanding of our kids.

Spiritual Development:  Throughout our programming, we weave lessons from scripture and tie it to real life situations. Youth are open to these discussions and often pose very important questions and issues.

Community Ministries Video

Trinity United Methodist Church