The Journey Home

A Christian Community Outreach whose primary focus is to serve the homeless and disadvantaged of Rutherford County.

OUR SINCERE THANKS TO YOU!


As we look toward the future, we are blessed and profoundly grateful for your encouragement and support. We give thanks for your help in serving our clients well.

When Marcie came to The Journey Home with her two granddaughters, they did not have shelter or, even, a meal to eat. Marcie’s daughter had been sentenced to two years in jail and Marcie’s granddaughters were going into foster care. It was up to Marcie to keep her family together. Marcie was barely making it on her own with a monthly social security check and an inadequate retirement fund from all of Marcie’s years of working.

And now, two preschoolers that desperately needed everything Marcie could give – both emotionally and physically. Marcie petitioned the court for temporary custody of her granddaughters and in the process of reorganizing her family, lost her place to live. The Journey Home helped them find another place to live and assisted in identifying resources to help make ends meet as Marcie and her two granddaughters begin their own Thanksgiving traditions.

So many times, a family finds themselves homeless while giving everything they can to remain in their home. It only takes one unforeseen event to negatively impact and change their trajectory causing them to become homeless. Marcie and her granddaughters now have a safe place to live and resources to get by, however, this also marks a time that many families will begin their homeless journey.

We are sincerely thankful for your support and encouragement as we continue to provide service to those who are most vulnerable and need The Journey Home’s services.

With Gratitude, Happy Thanksgiving!

STUDENT INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE

Looking to become an intern serving the homeless and disadvantaged for Rutherford County?

The Journey Home Internship Program is an unpaid, semester-long internship that offers university students the opportunity to explore the world of nonprofit work. The goal of the Internship Program is to link college coursework and theory with career responsibilities and expectations to help students visualize their future.

Founded in 2006, The Journey Home is a Christian ministry that serves the homeless and disadvantaged of Rutherford County. The agency does this by meeting basic needs with day-to-day resources like meals and food staples, laundry and shower facilities, restrooms and hygiene products, clothing, communication resources (mail service, public phones, computer and internet access), and case management services including coaching and referrals through our outreach center.

The agency works to build relationships that encourage hope and strategies for moving in a new direction, reintegrating into mainstream community life through housing programs and service coordination including physical and mental health, addiction recovery, employment, parenting, household management, faith-building, and relational wellness to meet people at their point of need.

Below is a list of potential internships related to Business and Marketing:

DEVELOPMENT AND FUNDRAISING INTERN

Overview of duties

  • Support revenue-generation activities in major gifts, grants, direct mail and events.
  • Assist with daily needs related to thank you notes and donor communication
  • Assist with thank you notes and data entry in Sales Force Database
  • Assist in cultivating relationships with The Journey Home donors.
  • Help determine potential grants, sponsorships, and prospects.

OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS INTERN

Overview of duties

Community Partnerships has a concentration on getting faith-based organizations, civic groups, businesses, and organizations to partner with The Journey Home.

  • Help develop new partnerships with groups to host drives, or to volunteer, provide Spring Cleaning at the Outreach Center, etc.
  • Help plan outreach strategies to reach new audiences. This could be via social media posts, press releases, creating fun videos, etc.

CREATIVE CONTENT INTERNSHIP

Overview of duties

The Creative Content or ‘design’ intern is responsible for providing support for the marketing department through a variety of channels, print, digital, web, video and other as assigned. The creative intern will assist with the development and design of core creative processes to include guidelines, collateral event materials and a variety of other creative tasks as assigned. The creative intern may also be assigned various website updates utilizing WordPress.

The creative intern’s primary duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Prepare images to coincide with social and blog posts.
  • Assist with website and blog updates via WordPress.
  • Assist with collateral updates and version control.
  • Creation and updates to various collateral.

MARKETING & COMMUNICATION INTERNSHIP

Overview of duties

  • Assist with development of The Journey Home Branding Guidelines
  • Assist with the development of the newsletter – assisting with writing articles
  • Help develop and maintain communication calendar
  • Assist in writing stories illustrating client needs and outcomes
  • Strategize, create and deliver e-mail marketing campaigns
  • Assist in writing and distributing press releases
  • Write and distribute blog, as well as developing and maintaining a strategy
  • Help create content on website and social media platforms
  • Monitor and report analytics from website, social media platforms

INTERN REQUIREMENTS

  • Students must be currently enrolled rising juniors/seniors or previously graduated from an accredited university.
  • Interns are required to provide their own transportation.
  • Students must submit their letter of interest and resume to apply. A letter of support is preferred but not required.

Send your inquiry to Lisbeth Couser, LCouser@LoveGodServePeople.org

Thank you for your interest.

WE’RE HIRING

PROGRAM STAFF MEMBERS FOR OUR COLDEST NIGHTS PROGRAM

The Journey Home is seeking Program Staff members for the Coldest Nights program, an overnight emergency shelter program serving our community’s homeless adults, provided collaboratively with First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro Cold Patrol, Murfreesboro Rescue Mission and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Coldest Nights operates two shelters, one for men and one for women, during the cold weather season. This year, due to COVID-19, shelters will be open nightly from November 15th through March 15th . Participants are offered a meal, safe sleeping accommodations out of the elements, and fellowship.

Program Staff members are responsible for the general program operation, maintaining a safe and orderly environment for program participants and making sure the facilities are kept clean. Training will be provided and is required. The positions will be part-time and seasonal, anticipating 30 to possibly 40 hours weekly. This year, there will be (2) 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. shifts nightly to assist with supper and check-in, (2) 6:45 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. overnight shifts, and one 3-4 hour cleaning shift each morning. The shifts pay $15 hourly plus a $3 hourly hazard bonus during the pandemic. Ideally, we would prefer to staff the men’s shelter with men and the women’s shelter with women due to the nature of some of the tasks and facility arrangements.

We are currently accepting applications. For more information or to receive an application/submit a resume’ to sfoster@LoveGodServePeople.org. Candidates that are only able to work on certain nights due to other work schedules or commitments are encouraged to apply. You do not have to be available every night.

We believe that this is an excellent opportunity for people from a wide range of ages (including students and retirees) and backgrounds that want to put their faith into action by serving folks who are in need.

To apply, send your resume to SFoster@LoveGodServePeople.org

Qualifications

✓ 21 years of age or older
✓ High school diploma or equivalent
✓ Drug-free with no violent criminal history; no one required to report as a sex-offender
✓ Stable housing history (we are unable to consider applicants that are receiving services as part of the homeless community we are serving)
✓ Highly reliable/dependable and organized
✓ Able to work independently, execute written instructions and communicate effectively
✓ Basic computer skills to complete simple forms and on-line check-in
✓ Friendly, positive attitude, cordial personality (i.e. social, relationship-oriented)
✓ Ability to be assertive without being authoritarian
✓ Ability to de-escalate conflicts and encourage cooperation
✓ Experience working with the homeless population and/or those with mental illness is helpful
✓ Experience in security, law enforcement, military or social work is useful
✓ Reference from local church, non-profit/social service volunteering, or university preferred
✓ Passion for the mission and commitment to the guiding principles and values of the organization

Resumes/applications will be reviewed as they are received. Positions will be open until they are filled. The Journey Home is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Job Description/Staff Duties
Coldest Nights Program Staff is responsible for the general program operation and maintaining a safe, orderly and clean environment for participants. Staff will often be supported by volunteers and supported by leadership team, but duties are the responsibility of staff. Staff members will promote hospitality and work to create a positive environment for participants.

  • Prior to opening: (other duties may be required but are uncommon)
  • Arrive at scheduled time at the assigned shelter/supper site. (Do not open the site for guests prior to posted opening.)
  • Unlock and set up the designated area for nightly activities. Assist food volunteers, if on supper shift.
  • For overnight shelter staff, set up check-in area complete with Registration Forms, Volunteer Log Sheets, and pens.
  • Have Guest Registration Log forms on-hand in the event of computer problems.
  • Check restrooms to make sure paper towels, tissue, soap, etc. stocked.
  • Set up and re-stock coffee and snack area.
  • Make sure cot area is organized and towels, toiletries and extra bedding are ready for use.
  • Have volunteers sign in on Volunteer Log Sheet, as necessary.
  • During shelter operations: (other duties may be required but are uncommon)
  • Unlock doors at 5:30 p.m. (supper) or 7:00 p.m. (shelter) (Check and secure other site-specific doors prior to opening)
  • Greet program participants and implement medical screening or shelter check-in following the Check-In Procedure
  • Lock doors at 9:00 p.m. (Any exits after 9:00 are for the remainder of the night.)
  • Clean up the food area after the meal period (supper staff)
  • Turn lights out at 10:00 at the latest (shelter staff)
  • Stay alert throughout the night to insure safety and make sure participants are on good behavior
    • Monitor emergency phone/computer for police/hospital late arrivals
    • If significant incidents occur during the shift, complete incident report and notify leadership by text or email
  • Turn lights on at 5:45 a.m. (Everyone needs to be up cleaning up their area by 6:15)
  • Make coffee, as needed
  • Make sure participants clean up their areas and assist with cleaning up common areas (distribute incentive cards)
  • Make sure participants put their linens in a mesh bag, tagged with their name, and place bags in rack
  • Order supplies, if needed, from supply list.
  • Secure computer, records and files in storage closet
  • Complete the End-of-Shift Checklist
    • Make sure everyone is out of building and shelter area is in good order for next day
  • Secure doors and exit at 7:00 a.m.
  • Cleaning staff will initiate daily cleaning protocols after shelter is closed for the morning.

The Journey Home is a Christian Outreach serving the homeless and disadvantaged.
308 West Castle Street | P.O. Box 331025 | Murfreesboro, TN 37133
Phone: (615) 809-2644 | Fax: (615) 809-2806
www.LoveGodServePeople.org

A TRUE LABOR OF LOVE

The Journey Home relies on the help of more than 1,500 volunteers annually and could use more volunteers. This LABOR DAY we wanted to share a couple’s LABOR OF LOVE.

Joi Sherrill and Steve McDill raised their hand to volunteer more than five years ago. It began with a simple breakfast – “everyone helps with Thanksgiving dinner but what about breakfast?” they thought.

Joi worked to secure enough donations and before they knew it, she and Steve were serving breakfast on Thanksgiving morning at the Community Cafe. That was the beginning of their LABOR OF LOVE, but it goes much deeper than that.

When Joi and Steve married, they became regular volunteers at The Journey Home and began volunteering 3 to 4 times each week in their own areas of interest. Joi helps the clients with basic needs and Steve became a self-described “all-purpose utility team.” Both added that they are inspired by Geneva’s heart and dedication.

Joi’s interest in helping the homeless began when she mentored a young girl and realized how having shelter changes a person – “the day that little girl told me how great a little camper was that I had and how her mom, sister and her could live in it just broke my heart. As a Realtor, I believe everyone should have a home of their own. It is foundational to your security. Homeless is a label we put on people, but the reality is that each person has a name, a heart and a story.”

Joi’s husband, Steve McDill also volunteers several days a week. It all began for him after the Thanksgiving breakfast when Scott Foster called to get his help to move some things. “I’ve done a little bit of everything – hauling cardboard, picking up donations from Publix and Kroger, mowing lawns, helping people move into housing – it truly is an all-purpose effort.”

McDill and Sherrill want to see change in the homeless community. “It takes time to build a relationship and make change. You must get to know them for who they are and have consistent interaction. This is when you begin to build a relationship and that’s when change begins to happen,” added McDill.

The couple has a goal of building a community to provide a stable and safe place for everyone in need even attending a week-long symposium in Austin Texas to learn more about Community First in the hopes of bringing a similar service to Rutherford County.

Joi and Steve are both from humble beginnings – when Joi was young her family struggled to have their basic needs met – at one point as a child, she and her family were homeless. Steve’s father was a pastor of a country church – “when he wasn’t preaching, he was delivering groceries and giving communion to families who had so much less than us,” is how Steve described his family growing up.

Joi’s passion has led to her serving as a real estate agent with eXp Realty in Tennessee and Steve is now retired.

This Labor Day, The Journey Home is celebrating and so thankful for Joi and Steve’s LABOR OF LOVE. We invite you to join us by investing your Time, Talent or Treasure in The Journey Home.

Happy Labor Day!

I AM BLESSED

Hi – my name is Dani.  This is my volunteering story at The Journey Home.  I hope it brings encouragement to those needing help and inspiration to those looking to serve.  We are called to be Salt (healing) and Light (guidance) in His name.  (Matthew 5:13-16)

I grew up in a middle-class family, obtained a bachelor’s in Nutrition and MBA, married, had two children and a good career.  I was living a good life.  Fast forward several years and through some unfortunate circumstances and bad decisions, I found myself unemployed, no car, not much money, and homeless.  I thought, “I’m an educated woman, I’ve managed large budgets and staffs.  Had fine homes and great vacations.  How can this happen to ME?”  At 56 years old my whole life fell apart.

This wasn’t just about choices and circumstances but an answer to prayer. I wasn’t living in God’s will and was miserable but didn’t have the courage to turn away.  I prayed for God’s help. God knew how independent and stubborn I was, so He didn’t mess around.  God pulled the rug right out from under me. Stunned and scared, I didn’t know what to do. Yet, I thanked Him.  (Psalm 59:16-17) My parents were delighted for me to come back to Murfreesboro to live with them.  After months of job searching, I still couldn’t get a job.  Continued prayer led me back to school to become a nurse. 

While in nursing school, I met a homeless man from the streets of Nashville – I will call him DW. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I met him. He carried the stigma of being homeless.  His clothes were dirty, and he wasn’t well groomed. DW had experienced a heavy life that trapped him into homelessness. DW wasn’t just down on his luck, it was his life. He had been homeless since his mid-teens and he was now in his 40’s. I was able to spend time with him and realized he is kind, funny, honest, humble, and enjoys good conversation. Through some generous, caring people, DW is no longer homeless.  

In the last few years, I’ve met more really good people who experienced some hard times. It stirred a longing in my heart to find a way to help.  An internet search lead me to The Journey Home. Working full-time M-F I wasn’t sure what I could do but after contacting the Director, a plan was set in motion.  The need is great, and the workers are few.  Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened.  (Matthew 7)

As we forge out this new opportunity, I look forward to doing more, to be a blessing and to be blessed by those I meet on this journey with the Journey Home. 

WHEN HOUSING EQUALS HOPE

Homelessness impacts the whole community and is at the center of many other social needs and issues. Homelessness impacts our local healthcare, public safety, education, and many other systems.

Imagine, for a moment, being homeless, being a mother and trying to go to work each day to keep your job. When you get up in the morning, there is not a restroom where you can get ready for work and breakfast is fast food that you will pick up on the way to taking your kids to school. Your kids will get lunch at school and you will try to find a place to live over your lunch break. You find an apartment to rent but, on the application, they ask for your current address…

Not many of us can even imagine so many tasks related to getting to work. And if you are a single mother, you also need to take and pick up your child from school. Below is Caroline’s story, a single mom, making her way back from homelessness.

“The Journey home is the only support system I have, the resources here have helped me get to where I am. I’m so grateful for everyone that has helped me along the way.”

When Caroline fled from domestic violence with her young son, she didn’t know where to go. She paid for a hotel for a few nights then found temporary shelter with a friend, but neither situation was a long-term solution. She was riding her bike all the way across town to get to work, trying to save enough money for a car to replace the one she’d lost.

Months earlier, when she was pregnant with her son, Caroline had come to The Journey Home to ask how to get a food box. Caroline reached out again when she found herself alone and desperate.

“I had no idea of what The Journey Home did for people, or what resources were available to me. You went above and beyond to help me with so many things—bus tickets, childcare, and even housing. I am so thankful for the housing program! I desperately wanted to provide a safe place for my son to lay his head down at night—that’s the only thing that matters—but I couldn’t manage it on my own.”

More than just a place to live, the Supportive Housing Program helps people like Caroline move beyond their current circumstances to improve their life and future. The Journey Home staff worked with Caroline to create a housing plan unique to her. This included assessing her needs, connecting with appropriate support services, and setting goals.

Caroline has purchased a car, moved into a safe place to live and is continuing to accomplish her goals.

Many survivors of domestic violence become homeless when they choose to leave an abusive relationship. Finding safe, affordable housing can be challenging on a limited income and not everyplace provides a place for adults with children complicating a situation that is already overwhelming to most. The Journey Home helps people and families find housing and provides some extra help to get established.

HOMELESS FAMILY OF FIVE

This Father’s Day, The Journey Home is celebrating a father’s story.

Mike, a husband, father to three children and a drywall hanger, had always had a job and took pride in taking care of his family. Mike’s income allowed them to get by but did not provide any extra to save for a rainy day. Mike and his family were living paycheck to paycheck.

One day, their apartment complex caught on fire and they had to move. Mike’s income coupled with bad credit from overdue medical bills led to them becoming homeless as Christmas approached. As a family of five, they were living in their old car. Mike was still going to work every day to change his family’s dire situation. Mike’s boss offered to let his sons stay at his house and his daughter stayed with her aunt.

Mike and his wife came to The Journey Home to get help. The Journey Home helped them find a place to live and assisted with the required deposits. Now they have a place to live with their kids, they are getting help to clean up their credit and Mike’s boss is letting him drive a company car.

Homelessness can have long-lasting devastating physical, emotional and psychological effects on children and their parents. Families become homeless because of a lost job, reduced work hours, or an unanticipated expense. Helping the family to stabilize by assisting with housing allows for their healing – financially, emotionally, and psychologically.

YOUNG AND HOMELESS

The Journey Home is celebrating Jenny’s milestone of moving into stable housing.

At 19 years old, “Jenny” found herself homeless. She did not have a driver’s license and had worn out her welcome at her friends after a lot of couch surfing. Jenny’s lack of confidence and low self-esteem added to her challenges. Jenny’s cousins helped her find the support she needed. They helped her study for the driver’s license exam and brought her to The Journey Home. Now Jenny has her own place to live, her driver’s license, scored extremely high on the ACT and has a full scholarship to MTSU. Now Jenny knows she has a home and can focus her attention on studying and getting her degree. 🎓

Often, youth homelessness is linked to family conflict. Many of the youth have experienced significant trauma before and after becoming homeless. There are many factors that lead to homeless youth – human trafficking, exploitation, pregnant and parenting youth, youth with special needs or disabilities and youth of color. The Journey Home celebrates Jenny’s accomplishments. The Journey Home serves youth 18 years of age and older.

Please note: The Journey Home protects the identity of clients – while the story is factual, the names and photos represent a likeness of those featured in the story.

INDEPENDENCE DAY

The Journey Home is celebrating “David’s” move into stable housing enabling him to access resources he needs to begin living an independent life.

David grew up in foster care from the time he was 5 years old. He lived with several foster families during this time and experienced abuse by one of the families that was providing for his care. When David turned 18, he reunited with his family after many years of separation. David struggled to hold down a job which led to him becoming homeless. That is when his family brought him to The Journey Home and asked for help.

The Journey Home helped David find an apartment and is working to help him attain ID credentials including a social security card. David was referred to the career center to evaluate his skills and qualifications to help him become employed. He has also been referred to a mental health counselor. This support and development of his skills will help David rely on himself and allow him to celebrate his own “Independence Day”.

Physical or Mental Health problems can cause homelessness or can make a person’s vulnerability to homelessness escalate. When a person is young and experiences trauma, it can impact every aspect of the person’s life moving forward. Counseling and support can change and positively impact a person’s situation to help them begin to live an independent life.

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