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Churches work to break cycle of poverty

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion, is site leader for the new Jobs for Life program in Orleans County. Classes start Jan. 27 at Hoag Library.

ALBION – A group of local churches are working to break a cycle of poverty and high unemployment in our community. The newly formed Hands 4 Hope Orleans believes jobs are critical to the dignity and self sufficiency of local residents.

The organization is launching a “Jobs for Life” program, an eight-week class where participants meet on Mondays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. The first class is on Jan. 27 at Hoag Library in Albion.

“We will focus on character and integrity,” said Tim Lindsay, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Albion and the site leader for Jobs for Life.

The class is free to participants. Lindsay and the organizers want to match each participant with a mentor from the community who will serve as a resource and encourager during the process. That relationship could last during the eight-week class, but Lindsay hopes it will be long-lasting.

“It’s good to have someone walk alongside you through the ups and downs, to provide encouragement and support because it can get discouraging when things don’t go the way you want,” he said. “It takes perseverance.”

Jobs for Life has been tried in other communities and Lindsay said the program has been successful in connecting people to jobs that match their skills.

Each graduate will receive a certificate and businesses can have faith the students have learned the importance of values, showing up on time, conflict resolution, team work, a positive attitude, taking responsibility and overcoming roadblocks.

Many churches provide emergency relief, such as clothing, material aid and food through pantries and soup kitchens. Lindsay said Jobs for Life aims to get at the root of poverty, trying to give people skills and direction to become self sufficient.

He expects 10 to 12 people will be in the first class. The group welcomes participants, mentors and a network with local businesses.

Besides Harvest Christian Fellowship, the Oak Orchard Assembly of God, Light of Victory, Albion Free Methodist Church and Alabama Full Gospel are all working on Jobs for Life.

For more information, including how to apply to be a mentor, send an email to info@hands4hopeorleans.org or call Lindsay at (585) 589-0777. For more information on Hands 4 Hope Orleans, click here. That site includes an application for participants in the class.