GIFTS: Where Are They Now?

Blessed  are the meek,  for they will inherit the earth.  Matthew 5:5

                    When thinking of the homeless, most of us picture someone who is financially destitute; often for reasons of his own making; often he has burnt all of his bridges and is alone.  This is not always the case.

                    Phil has Aspergers Syndrome, a type of autism where the individual is high functioning.  He has loving, supportive siblings.  Both parents have passed away, leaving Phil a trust fund for his care.  When he came to GIFTS, Phil was self-conscious and embarrassed that he couldn’t  take care of himself.  He didn’t want his family to know he was homeless.

                    Though he is brilliant, Phil’s self-esteem was so low that conversing and maintaining eye contact was difficult.  He shied away from interaction but he was always respectful and kind to others so he was well liked.  Whenever help was needed, Phil was the first to volunteer.  As comradeship grew, Phil felt accepted and and safe.  Over time confidence grew and he began opening up.  Now he greets everyone with a warm smile.  During daily devotions he shares his deep faith.  He initiates interaction, a task very difficult for someone with Aspergers.  Because of healthy relationships and the supportive atmosphere at GIFTS, Phil has experiences so much growth!

                    In 2007 when God Is Faithful Temporary Shelter started, its goal was to provide a warm bed and hot meal during Wisconsin’s cold winter months.  Now our mission includes addressing the causes of homelessness.  One way to do this is to connect the men to resources in our community.  Rock County Job Center is one of the agencies we utilize.  They have a job training program called WISE that helps place people over 55 years old in jobs where they learn employment skills through on-the-job training.  Phil has met the criteria and will be starting a job very soon.  We at GIFTS have been doubly blessed because Phil has been placed at the GIFTS  Resource Center.  He has already demonstrated reliability, willingness to work, and a good work ethic.  As GIFTS’ expands, our staff needs grow so Phil’s placement with us is definitely a win-win situation!

                    We couldn’t be more proud of Phil and the progress he has made.  God blessed him with a deep faith, a humble demeanor, and a gentle soul.  The supportive environment of GIFTS has allowed his gifts to blossom.

We will host GIFTS at Cargill Oct. 29 – Nov. 4.  Please join us in helping homeless men in our area find acceptance and success.  Sign up to bring a meal, chaperone over-night, greet and register our guests, or launder towels and bedding.

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