Life Builders program

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Denver South Valley Corps offers help in rebuilding lives.

Many people who reach out to The Salvation Army for help are walking a tightrope…one mishap can throw them into despair or even homelessness.

The Denver South Valley Corps (Colo.), with their Life Builders program, is helping people off the tightrope. Janice Desgroux and Captain John Bennett of the South Valley Corps adapted the course, based on the work of William A. Borgen and Norman E. Amundson from the University of British Columbia.

A ministry grant from territorial headquarters will enable Captain Lisa A. Smith, South Valley’s community ministries director, to hold six sessions during the coming year, with clients from the community ministries center and referrals from other agencies. Smith says, “Participants will benefit from a supportive community and the power of faith. We want them to know they are not alone as they walk the tightrope to stability.”

The program has three components: First Steps, Action Team and Spiritual Life Group.
In First Steps, participants identify their obstacles and learn about resources and how to access them. Using these tools, they develop their own action plans. After First Steps, participants may proceed to Action Team and Spiritual Life Group for additional support.

Action Team offers further goal development. Guest speakers address such topics as: gathering up-to-date information, time management and marketing yourself in today’s job environment.

In Spiritual Life Group, members learn how to apply spiritual principles to their situations. Topics include: forgiveness and trust, God’s purpose for your life and spiritual strength for every problem. Time is available for prayer, Scripture reading and discussion. Participants explore setting weekly spiritual goals, such as daily devotional reading, substituting prayer for worry, church involvement and community service.

Volunteer mentors from the corps and community provide encouragement and non-judgmental support. They help members set realistic goals and follow up weekly on their progress. Soldier Nancy Caporale has been a mentor for several sessions and says, “Life Builders is a wonderful opportunity for people to take their lives in a new direction.”

Two graduates of the 2006 Life Builders sessions are now Salvation Army employees who also attend the corps. Helen Nunnelly was living in a shelter when she started the program; she is now in transitional housing. She says, “Life Builders really helped me. I took advantage of all the resources that were shown.”

Current participant Juanita Fritz commented, “I have gotten good information about so many things. Now I have the answers to some of my questions.” Barb Fenner, who became the administrative assistant at the South Valley Corps said, “This was not just Life Builders—for me it was life rebuilders.”

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