The First Quarter at 70×7 Life Recovery-Grand Rapids Program Center started with record high participants coming to our Change class!
Following the CEO retirement of Tim Koning in December 2021, in February 2022, 70×7 welcomed a new CEO, Patrick Moran. Patrick comes to us over 30 years’ experience leading non-profit agencies, most recently United Way. With Patrick’s experience and fresh outlook, we’re excited to move into the future under his leadership.
We have also welcomed two new Relationship Managers / Instructors: Jan Carpenter and Jason Johnson who will be working directly with participants. We have renamed our in-house staffing agency, New Day Staffing, which is now called 70×7 Employment Services; we are working hard to add new employment partners in different work sectors.
Stronger Together Family Support Group and Take Charge Life Skills and Support group for women has been meeting in person meetings along with Zoom options; both groups have seen an uptick in participants.
Restorative Hope and the Cards for Prisoners, a pen-pal letter writing program for inmates, has been blessed with new church partners and volunteers. We are perpetually striving to grow our programs and improve our services; we consistently challenge ourselves to seek new ways to do this.
Outreach and Capacity Building
Launching our new partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections Offender Success (OS) contract for Job Readiness has brought us into renewed contact with many local agencies including Goodwill, Michigan Works, and Alternative Directions. We are currently working with OS and these agencies to plan two upcoming community events. On May 13, 2022 we will be offering the Kent County Job Fair at the Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center where nearly 30 employers and agencies will be in attendance to help and hire returning citizens. And on August 3, 2022, we are planning the Kent County Resource Summit which will feature a variety of area agencies and businesses as well as breakout sessions geared to help returning citizens.
We had the opportunity to partner with Together Church to offer the families of our participants an Easter Basket Building event; 20 families came to build baskets for 50 children. Together Church also focused on 70×7 and our ministry at their service on March 27. Staff was introduced and welcomed; Antwan Brown, Grand Rapids Executive Director, gave the message that day.
Some positive stories and notes this quarter of 2022:
- Fox 17 News aired an exclusive interview piece on March 29, 2022 featuring one of our participants, Jamarion Lawhorn. At age 12, Jamarion was the youngest person convicted of murder in Kent County. At age 19, he was released and became a part of the 70×7 extended family when Cards for Prisoners director, Paula Creswell, and her family took him in to their home. Jamarion came through our program and has been steadily growing into his future. His interview can be viewed Fox 17’s website as Jamarion’s Journey: https://www.fox17online.com/
news/in-depth/jamarions- journey.An additional piece was aired on the Fox 17 Morning Program on March 30, 2022 in which Executive Director Antwan Brown shared about Jamarion and our 70×7 program: https://www.fox17online.com/ news/morning-news/how-one- local-organization-helps-men- and-women-break-cycle-of- incarceration
- Both Brandy and Max, recent Change program graduates, battled addictions and bad choices before deciding they wanted more for their futures and to come through 70×7. Jirah Metal Products was a brand-new employer partner with 70×7 Employment Services; the timing was perfect for Brandy and Max to start with Jirah. They have been described as “superstars” at Jirah!
- Additionally, we have had five more women graduate this quarter from our Changes class – which is exceptional! These five all expressed an interest in customer service and hospitality industries and all the ladies have obtained great employment opportunities through 70×7 in area hotels; one was even promoted within a week to become a manager! All these employers have been incredibly accommodating to help them in their circumstances to move forward.
Ministry Report submitted by Cheryl Wyma of 70×7 Life Recovery