Ministry Stories
October 29, 2018

70×7 Life Recovery – Grand Rapids Program Center Fall 2018

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Submitted by Cheryl Wyma

This is a summary of services provided to our participants with the generous financial gift 70×7 Life Recovery has been blessed with by you.

Basic Description of Ministry

70×7 Life Recovery is a Christ centered organization whose vision is to bring hope to men and women coming home from prison or jail by providing meaningful community, employment success and a deepening relationship with God.

Our program provides:

  • Dignity, Purpose and Hope
  • Job Readiness Training
  • Job Placement with Long-term Potential
  • Mentoring Relationships
  • Connecting to a Network of Community Resources
  • Ongoing Participant support

82% of participants that start our programs complete our programs.

First Quarter Program Narrative

During the fourth quarter of 2017, CJC merged with 70×7 Life Recovery.  In addition to maintaining CJC’s current programming, this transition entailed training for staff in the methods and model used by 70×7 Life Recovery, a ministry whose main office is in Holland. Staff also moved to a new office located inside the Kentwood Community Church Wyoming campus.   70×7 Life Recovery’s mission is to turn the cycle of incarceration and its consequences into a cycle of restoration and hope.  This is done through programs like what CJC offered, with some new additions.  Case management and mentor relationships provide support and resources necessary to help each participant achieve stability and independence.  A job readiness and life skills training class, “Change,” and volunteering on a Serving Together team at partner churches prepares participants for landing and keeping a good job with a local business partner.

70×7 Life Recovery continues to provide the Take Charge program, a life skills and support group for women.  These women support and hold each other accountable for making positive changes during and outside of group.

The Reentry Networking Lunches that 70×7 Life Recovery continues to host at Oakdale Park CRC facilitate a positive social environment and a welcoming church space for returning citizens.  A notable additional impact has been the increase in service providers attending, working together to assist returning citizens.  Both agency workers and returning citizens have told 70×7 staff how much they appreciate this opportunity to network and enjoy a meal together.

Our first “Cohort” of the Change Class (Change Your Story, Change Your Life!) began February 5, 2018.  Each class meets for two weeks, Monday – Thursday for 3 hours with additional time requirements for resume preparation, mock interviews and job readiness assessments (Serving Together). This first training session had five graduating participants who upon graduation were assisted with employment and mentoring. Classes are held consecutively.  During the first quarter, 4 Cohorts graduated and moved into the employment sector.

Outreach and Capacity Building

70×7 partners with several community stakeholders who take part in our Changes class workshops.  Staff also goes into the community giving presentations on the services we offer to other social service and government agencies as well as to potential employers and community partners.

70×7 Life Recovery works area churches with our “Welcoming a Returning Citizen to Your Church” program.  This is tailored to a church’s specific needs and includes plans for safety, accountability, transparency and communion with a returning citizen along with the rest of the congregation.

For the first quarter of 2018, we developed relationships with

  • Healing Communities
  • Forgotten Man Ministry
  • Calvin College – class presentation
  • Cherry Health – Community Alternatives Program
  • Cornerstone University – class presentation
  • Federal Parole
  • Probation and Parole officers
  • Kent Count Offender Success Advisory Council
  • Parole – Sex Offender Case Management Team
  • Local Employers

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