19 March 2007

Education, Education, Education!

Judy - Assistant Director of Community Services

What does that word mean to you? For many it means increased knowledge, future job opportunities, job advancements, and hope for the future. But to many of our clients when they hear the word education, their response is, IMPOSSIBLE! They are in a survival mode, and their greatest need is to provide food and shelter for their families. Food and shelter is hard to maintain when you are living on minimum wage and the harsh reality is the majority of our clients are one step away from becoming homeless.

Last night our Community Service Outreach Center hosted a seminar for the Nebraska Appleseed Center, our guest speaker was Jennifer Hernandez, Community Educator. The Nebraska Appleseed Center works to help low-income families pursue a higher education while on the Employment First Program.

We invited many of our Employment First clients to this workshop with the goal of helping them realize that they to could pursue further education. As the class began, I listened to our clients share their stories and ask Jennifer question after question, I could not help but sense their pain and frustration, many had lost hope for their future. The mood was heavy and depressing, but as the night went on I noticed the mood began to change, their voice sounded lighter, I heard laughter, and as I made eye contact with some they smiled back at me and their eyes were sparkling. What a difference! This was truly an exciting sight to behold. The miracle of HOPE had just transpired in some of our clients hearts. They were empowered with tools and resources that would help them pursue a dream for a better life for their family, and that dream would be achieved through the goal of a higher education.

15 March 2007

You are never too old to make a difference

This afternoon, the Pacific Springs Retirement Village had some wonderful men and women come to the Open Door Mission to donate and volunteer their time. I hope you will be inspired by the photo's below to volunteer, today, and make a difference.

Sunshine

The weather has been just wonderful. I am left wondering if this is the calm before the storm. One more last storm just around the corner, I sure hope not.

The Open Door Mission continues to have a real need for meat. The Open Door Mission serves more than 1,000 meals a day. Through an email, the Open Door Mission was put in contact with a company in Wichita that has approximately 8 pallets of buffalo meat to give away. But they did not have transportation. Yet, through the generosity of a local trucking company the Open Door Mission will be able to receive the needed buffalo meat, next week. A great big thank you to Jim and Linda of Jim Bender Co. of Co. Bluffs, IA.

05 March 2007

Guest Blogger Tara Rye, ODM/LH Volunteer

God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. Job 37:5

I hope you have a moment to read this short story of what happened this morning. God does move in marvelous ways and does things beyond our understanding! AMEN!

Every Monday morning I make the drive across town to the Open Door Mission to teach Bible Study to the ladies in the program. This morning as I entered the secured room that I teach in at the Lydia House my name was called over the loud speaker because I had a guest. Everyone’s ears perked up because volunteers very seldom have guests. I went out wondering who would come to find me here! To my delight a lady waited at the desk to enter the secured room. She did not live at the ODM, but heard about the program and one of the staff told her I was the teacher. She had me paged so she could get in the class. We greeted each other and shared simple pleasantries as I worked hard to remember her name. As we entered our area two ladies were having an animated discussion that was not pleasant for any of us in the room. My morning did not start off with women coming delighted to hear the word, but with struggles among women of God and a new guest. As I knelt to pray I knew God had something special for us this day.


As I taught I observed my new friend listening intently to the lesson about the costs of following Jesus. As I shared there are to ways to follow: the path or the person and how we cannot j choose one. We must know the person to walk the path and we can’t walk the path without the person. I felt convicted move across the room. A “stillness” covered us. I knew someone needed the LORD, so as I ended my lesson I gave opportunity for anyone to come forward that might need to talk to me further about Jesus. I saw her waiting until all the others left and then slowly she approached me and said, “You know I have seen Him! Most don’t believe me when I say it, but I have seen Him!” I asked her to tell me about it. Slowly, she shared with me that He came to her house on the day her 11 year old daughter died in her arms. My heart stopped. As you know, I am begging God for compassion this year. His compassion welled up in me and I fell in love with my new friend.
As I listened to her talk I realized that she knew of HIM, but did not know HIM! So I asked, “If you were to die today, do you know you if you would go to heaven?”
“I don’t know!” she said.
“Would you like to have confidence of this?”

As tears slipped from her eyes she cried, “Yes!” A sweet sister handed me a tract to read through with her. We never finished the tract she knew what she needed, so we prayed.
Some moments are so Holy… this was a Holy moment. They are hard to explain or describe. I can only hope you catch a glimpse of how God uses your prayers to change lives. I watched a sister go from living in the temporal to walking in the freedom of the Spiritual with Jesus Christ.

As she bowed her head and prayed to receive Christ as her Savior I paused in the marvelous ways God moves!

By the way… I will never forget her name! Please pray for my new sister in Christ! Out of respect to her I have withheld her name!

Open Door Mission and Lydia House Volunteer, Tara Rye

02 March 2007

Good Afternoon,

I know that the below information is lengthy and maybe not of interest. But when you have time, I think that you would find it informative.
The families that the Open Door Mission serve will be affected by the lack of funding for this program. The lack of healthcare insurance for those underinsured and noninsured continues to be a growing issue in the homeless and nearhomeless population. KIDS CONNECTION send a staff directly to the Open Door Mission to assist families with the paperwork and understanding of services. Kids Connection is a valuable partnership.

Candace

ISSUE: Legislative Resolution 10 (LR10), currently in the Legislature’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee, calls upon Nebraska’s congressional members to ensure the timely reauthorization of the federal State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). SCHIP, which is called Kid’s Connection in Nebraska, provides health care coverage to children whose working parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance.

In Fiscal Year 2008, Nebraska is expected to have a shortfall of over $14 million if SCHIP is reauthorized but funded at 2007 levels. The result: children will be moved from SCHIP into the Medicaid program which will cost the state more (federal matches for SCHIP are higher than for Medicaid). Or, the state will not allocate dollars to make up the shortfall in SCHIP dollars which will result in program cut backs, for example, reducing already low eligibility rates, eliminating benefits, or cutting provider payments; all of which will limit or deny health care for Nebraska’s children.

Over the past 10 years, Nebraska’s State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), called Kid’s Connection, and its children’s Medicaid programs have made great strides in helping children receive needed health care by providing coverage to low-income children in households with incomes less than 185% of the Federal Poverty Line (approximately $37,000 per year for a family of four). Kid’s Connection provides health care coverage to children whose working parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance. We can and must do more to protect the health of Nebraska’s children.

Without Sufficient Federal Funding, More Nebraska Will Become Uninsured.

  • In Fiscal Year 2008, Nebraska is expected to have a shortfall of over $14 million if SCHIP is reauthorized but funded at 2007 levels.
  • State funding will not be allocated to make up for that shortfall. Instead, the result will be cut backs to the program by, for example, reducing the already low eligibility rates, eliminating benefits, or cutting provider payments.
    Every Child in the U.S. Should Have Health Care
  • Nearly 30,000 Nebraska children have no health care coverage which is vital to their healthy development. In 2005, Kid’s Connection and Medicaid served nearly 137,000 children – 30% of all Nebraska children who otherwise would have had no health care coverage.
  • Without coverage a child is more likely to go without immunizations and primary care which often results in visits to the emergency room. Additionally a child is more likely to miss school.
  • According to a Nov. 2006 poll by Lake Research Partners, 82% of American voters support allocating additional funds to SCHIP. Of these, two-thirds would like to increase funding enough to cover more children.
  • Most of the children on Medicaid and Kid’s Connection come from households with a working parent. Indeed, over 63% of uninsured Nebraskans are employed. Yet, increasingly, these families are not offered coverage through their jobs, or cannot afford coverage.
  • Since its inception, SCHIP has reduced (nationally) the percentage of low-income children who are uninsured by a third.

Kid’s Connection Is Cost-Effective

  • Children account for 64% of Nebraska’s Medicaid population, but represent only 25% of spending.
  • Covering a child costs the state only approximately $235 a month.
  • Covering kids through Medicaid and Kid’s Connection is more cost-effective than coverage in the private sector. A national study found that children covered by Medicaid had a cost 31% lower than children with similar health care needs in the private sector.

Sincerely,Candace L. GregoryPresident/CEO
Open Door Mission
2828 N. 23rd St. E.
Omaha, NE 68110
402-422-1111 ext 1502