What is Success?

When anyone asks me about the PARC I always have so many wonderful stories to share. I love  to tell about the people that walk through our door and about the miraculous changes that I get to observe on a daily basis.  I KNOW that lives are truly being changed every day! 

So, what is the definition of success? In some cases it is easy to recognize. There are numerous members that have gotten jobs and some have even gotten a place to live. Here at the PARC however, there are many  definitions of success. I can tell you about Eric, who when he first came would not look you in the eye or even talk when he was spoken to. He sat in the corner and just watced. Now when Eric walks through the door he has a smile on his face and engages in conversation with all those he sees. He is friendly and has a sense of humor. Erice makes ME smile. 

Jaime came in 2 days ago and we were told by the other members to watch out for him. He has a reputation on the streets as a tough guy and one that you should watch out for. When  I sat down to talk to Jaime however,  he shared with me that he was making a cross for one of his friends. His friend is on meth and Jaime is afraid that he might not make it.. He wanted to give him some reminder that someone cares and is praying for him. One of our members remarked that it is interesting to observe how when people come to the PARC that the mask comes off. They are able to drop the 'tough guy image" and just be who they really are. 

Today Jennifer walked through our doors. She had been here before, but was loud, rebellious and had to be reminded many times to watch her language. Today she was different.  I sat with her for a while and heard her heart. I heard her story. She told me how she is trying to figure out God and if she can really relate to Him. She has been a drug dealer 'her whole  life' and when people told her there was another way she couldn't see the way. There has been a lot of pain and tragedy in  her short life.  As she was painting a picture she told me, "When I come here and  do these 'stupid little projects' I realize that there are things inside of me that I didn't even know about. I start to see that there might be something else I can do besides what I've always known."  Jennifer and I  talked about forgiveness today. We talked about how much God loves her.  We even talked about hearing God and how He talks to her on a daily basis. Jennifer has hope.

There are many definitions of success and we get to see them every day. Those that come to the PARC are reminded that they are valuable and it opens their minds to the possibility of doing things differently so that this cycle they have been trapped in is broken. Through the projects and the creativity that comes they begin to realize that there are gifts and abilities inside of them. Through their feelings of  succes as they complete projects they begin to dream again and feel that maybe they can be successful in life.

 Success is simply taking a step towards a better way. Even the 'success storie's of those that have begun to work  is simply a 'step'.  At the PARC we help them to take the steps and each step becomes a moment of success. It is an honor to watch the miraculous changes and to be a part of the amazing success stories that take place. the PARC needs YOU. We have many volunteer opportunities available and we need your donations. Join us in helping those experiencing homelessness to pursue life's possibilities.

Making New Friends Every Day

the PARC is growing! Every day we see new faces and meet new friends. Wednesday was the biggest day we have had so far. 27 members joined us throughout the day and we were bursting at the seams! It was a wonderful day. At any time throughout the day you could look around and see the members at the tables working to complete their projects. There was conversation and an occasional burst of laughter. It is truly a place of peace and redemption. 

We continue to see people find hope and realize that they have possibilities for their life. The stories we hear over and over are that people are different when they come to the PARC. There is a peace there that allows them to escape the chaos and and an acceptance that envelops them when they walk through the door. It helps them to remember who they once were and to remind them that they can do more than they are doing now.

 

I had a long conversation with Leslie on Friday. She is experiencing many health issues and is afraid she may be confined to a wheelchair. As we talked, Leslie shared with me about how much she has changed since coming to the PARC. She remembers how scared she used to be and how she would never look anyone in the eye. Leslie would always keep her head down because she was full of shame and did not feel worthy. Now she has courage. She understands the importance of caring for herself and becoming the person she was intended to be. Through the projects she has learned that she is capable of more than she realized. Through the classes and the relationships she has formed, she is beginning to realize that she is valuable. "I work on that every day" she said. "The PARC has changed my life. I don't know where I would be if it weren't for you. I am a better person and you can quote that anywhere you want!!!"  She will fight for her health. She will fight for her future. Leslie is an amazing woman and it is such a joy to watch her discover that for herself.

I hope that you will join us and become a part of this wonderful and powerful work. Volunteers are needed as well as financial donations. You are always welcome to come by. Being a part of the PARC will leave you blessed and put a smile on your face. Come on. You will LOVE it!

The Difference a Conversation Can Make

David has been coming to the PARC only a few days. He told me that he is waiting on his income tax return and  that I would probably not see him for a few days when he got it. When I asked him why, he told me that he would probably get a motel room and get drunk. I said, "Oh David, I hate you to waste your money and it be gone so quickly. I wish you could use if for something that would help you or that you need." He told me that he would be careful. A little later that day he came to me and told me that he was thinking about using his money to go see a friend. When I asked him if that would be a good thing, he nodded and said that he thought so. He was going to check in to the price of bus tickets. Towards the end of the day David found me again and said that he was thinking about going to see his parents. He had checked in to the price of a round trip ticket and felt like it would be a really good thing if he went to see them. He had not seen them in a very long time.

I don't know how David will decide to spend his money, but I can tell you that a simple conversation helped him to become aware that there are other possibilities than following in the footsteps of the decisions that he had previously made. Through relationship and conversation, those that are experiencing homelessness are reminded of the possibilities that will help them to break their cycle. They find their value and gain the confidence to move forward.

We need volunteers.. Volunteers have conversation and form relationship with the members through projects and classes. This is done by:

- Participating with the members in an already planned project

- Leading a project

- Teaching a class

- Sitting with the members and talking to them while they participate in a project

True change takes place when they are validated by someone taking the time to listen. This sense of worth propels them to take the steps to break their cycle of homelessness.  Anyone is welcome to drop by to see what we do at any time. We are open Tuesday - Friday, 8:00- 4:30. If you would like to more information, fill out the information on our 'join us' page and someone will contact you and get you plugged in. 

 

 

Why I Like the PARC

When you walk through the doors of the PARC you notice it immediately. There is a peace and joy that is almost tangible. I recently asked the members why they liked coming to the PARC. Here are a few of their responses:

- I am treated as a person and not as an object or a number.

- People are nice.

- It is peaceful here.

- I don't have to worry about someone stealing my stuff.

- People listen to me.

- It's safe.

- I am accepted here.

- There is no judgment.

These are just a few of the reasons that I heard about the blessing of the PARC. The list goes on. When Josh first came I didn't think he would stay. He was angry and belligerent. We had to ask him to lower his voice on more than one occasion. He was argumentative and tried to take over the classes so that his opinion would be heard. He continued to come. As the volunteers listened and valued what he had to say we watched his countenance change. As he found acceptance, a peace settled over him. One day, as he was working on a project that took him several days to complete, I asked him if he had found out things about himself that he didn't know were there by coming to the PARC. He nodded and said, "the PARC has helped me to calm down and find patience.  It helps me to re-identify myself so that I can dig deep and find the strength to make a change." Josh has connected with Eloy from Goodwill and has some leads on a job. He is ready to work!  He still wrestles with his anger, but he sees himself as a victor. I am so proud of him.

As the number of our members increases, our need for volunteers grows. The miraculous changes that we see taking place happen through our volunteers taking the time to listen and have conversation. They do this by participating in projects that are already planned or by leading an activity. Some just come and join in the conversation. Showing value and acceptance has power! Please join us. You can call the PARC at 367-8024 or email us at volunteer@theparc.net. There is a place for you!

New Classes

the PARC is filling up. We meet new people every day and have to say good-bye to a few. Last week, 3 of the members got jobs! It's hard to know we won't see them on a regular basis, but we celebrate with them as they move toward the possibilities of their life and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

One of the most exciting things happening around the PARC is the addition of classes to our schedule. The members love the teaching and discussion that takes place around the table. Katy wanted to attend a job fair at Work Force but needed help with her resume. Pam, one of our volunteers, met her here to help update her resume and prepare to interview.

We have a Recovery Class and a Boundaries Class taught every Wednesday by Deanna. Iris is teaching a Bible Study and Nan brought all of the things needed to teach a mosaic class for the members to make beautiful crosses. Nikki came and taught an art class where they are learning to create on canvass something that they didn't know was possbile. The members have told me that the PARC has shown them that they can do more than they thought. It becomes their motivation to try harder. Their success in the projects and classes encourages them to pursue opportunities that they were too discouraged to even consider before.

One of the most popular classes, Discovering Your Identity, is taught by Royce Gooch. He comes every week to help the members see that they are new creations. The Righteousness of Christ dwells in them and they are forgiven. Many of them are overcome as they begin to try to comprehend the magnitude that they are valued and worthy. 

We continue to see people change right before our eyes every day! As the membership grows, our needs increase. Please consider a financial donation to help those experiencing homelessness become aware of their possibilities. As relationship takes place through our volunteers, and the members begin to awaken to who they are and the things they are capable of, we can join together to break the cycle of homelessness.

New Year / New Starts

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We continue to be amazed at the changes that are taking place right before our eyes in the lives of those that come to the PARC. When Leslie first came she was scared and suffered from anxiety attacks. After coming to the PARC on a consistent basis she finds that she isn't scared anymore. She has come to understand that she is capable of more than she realized and is even considering completing her degree. As we talked she said, "I can never repay what this place has done for me."

Daisha showed up last week. She had just arrived from Oklahoma where she is fleeing from an abusive home. Daisha is a very gifted artist and has been able to find friendship and stability while she tries to find a way to survive.  Some of our volunteers have helped her to find clothing and Eloy from Goodwill is working with her to help her find a job.

We are also celebrating with Willie who was able to get into an apartment over the holidays. He isn't around as much, so we miss him, but we are happy for him to be in his new home.

Lives are also  being changed in our volunteers. We hear comments such as, "This has been so good for me." "I love it!. I would be here every day if I could." "I came today a little selfishly. I needed to be here." 

After the holidays we extended our hours to be open 4 days a week. We are now open Tuesday - Friday from 8:00 - 4:30.  As the volunteer base grows we will move towards being open 5 days a week. One of our goals is to increase the classes that are offered. We currently have a Hope Recovery Support Group, a Thursday morning Bible Study, Crochet Lessons and an Art Class,  We soon will be offering classes in Discovering Your Identity and Carpentry.  Our members love to learn and gravitate towards anything that is being taught.

Right now the PARC serves about 35 members. This number increases daily as those who come share with others that they believe will benefit from what the PARC offers. Every day is different and is filled with new friends, great stories and changed lives. 

Community Lunch

We were privileged to share in a community lunch, hosted by Central Church of Christ, on Saturday, December 20th.  Mark Love did a wonderful job of hosting approximatley 450  of those who  are experiencing homelessness in the Amarillo area for  a delicious meal, catered by Desperados. The guests were able to eat all they wanted and still have a box of food to take home. They were also given groceries, a first-aid kit, and the children were given toys by Santa.

the PARC was honored to be highlighted at the luncheon. Mark spoke about the ministry and gave the guests an opportunity to give.  We were blessed with $383.03. This was added to the generous offering of $280.31 that had already been taken by Loaves and Fishes. A total of $663.34 was donated to the PARC! We are so grateful.

It is such a blessing to work beside Mark Love and his ministy at Central Church of Christ. Together we are making a difference in Amarillo and in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. 

Connection and Success

I am so excited to share with you the news of the PARC’s first few days. We have been open only a few days, but the stories of connection and success are already being told. It is a wonderful thing to watch the volunteers engage with our members.  As volunteers and members participate in the projects and activities conversation really flows.  As they are busy with their hands they are more comfortable sharing their stories and their hearts. 

Tim came to the PARC the second week that we were open. It didn’t take long to see that he is a brilliant man with a mind for mechanics. As the volunteers got to know Tim and to hear his story, one of our volunteers was able to find a job that is a perfect fit for Tim.  He started on Tuesday!!

When Joshua came for the first time we talked about jobs and working. He told me that he didn’t really want to work. He said that he can always get money when he needs it through panhandling or Day Labor. There is always a place to find food, shelter, and a hot shower. As we continued to talk, however, he made the comment, “But this can’t go on forever.” The next day when Joshua came he couldn’t stay. He was on his way to apply for a job!!! Janice has come every day since we opened. She is having trouble finding a job because she has a felony. On Friday I was able to connect her with Eloy from Goodwill. He came by to talk with her and help her know better how to approach employers since she has a felony on her record. They are meeting on Monday so that he can help her apply for jobs.  Katy needed help with her resume and we were able to refer her to Workforce Solutions, who will help her to update and print out her resume.

Hearts and minds are being opened and changed as our members are shown value and dignity.  When J.J. first came he couldn’t stop talking. He had the ear of one of our volunteers that gave him her undivided attention for 2 hours.  J.J. is an artist. He comes in every day to draw, paint, and share. He told one of the volunteers that he can't wait each day for the PARC to open because, "Out there I'm nothing. In here I am somebody."

The members are not the only ones who are being changed. Some of the things our volunteers have said: “This morning has been fun… love talking with everyone. I think I will get as much therapy as we are trying to give.”  “Just wanted to let you know that I had a great day yesterday. I met so many wonderful people. Thank you for getting me involved.”

The PARC is truly a place of redemption. Those who are experiencing homelessness are finding their value through relationships. They are becoming aware of life’s possibilities and moving towards breaking that cycle of homelessness.  What was only a vision has now come to pass. Many lives are being redeemed.

the PARC is Now Open!

We are overwhelmed to see that what was only a dream has now become a reality. It has been a blessing to watch the members walk through the doors and see them connect with our volunteers. We are already seeing many success stories, even though we have only been open 4 days. These are some of the comments we have received from our volunteers:

"This morning has been fun . . . love talking with everyone. I think I will get as much therapy as we are trying to give."

"Just wanted to let you know that I had a great day yesterday. I met so many wonderful people. Thank you for getting me involved."

We have found that as our volunteers sit down with the members and work on the projects with them, that conversation flows. The members open up to tell their story and our volunteers are able to love, accept and direct. Healing is taking place and many of our members have already found resources that will help them to move forward on their journey. It has been so fun to watch what we have seen in our hearts for so long actually take place.

The building looks great! It is truly a symbol of redemption.  What was once dark, chaotic, dirty, and broken is now clean, beautiful, warm, inviting, and full of light.. the PARC is becoming a place of hope, truth, and redemption. Thank you to everyone who made it happen. I hope that you will come to be a part. There are many ways and a plethora of opportunities. You can contact us at volunteer@theparc.net or come by anytime. We are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 - 4:30. Our Open House is this Thursday, December 4, from 4:00 - 7:00. We would love to see you.