New ministry seeks to empower young adults through dignity of work
ALBION – While working for 12 years as a job coach to special needs youth at BOCES, Heidi Dorpfeld often noticed how the children thrived while receiving extra attention in school, but often fell through the cracks when left on their own in the outside world.
That gave her an idea for a program which would help these students transition from one lifestyle to another, and she formed Trade 180, what she calls “A home of hope to become whole.”
Earlier this year, Dorpfeld and her team were working to renovate a home on East Avenue owned by Harvest Christian Fellowship, with plans to open her ministry there.
Then she was contacted by the Giordano family from Kent with an offer too good to be true.
Beth Giordano had formerly run Rise Above Ministries for years out of a building she owned at 25 Bank St. After hearing about Dorpfeld’s plans, she contacted her and offered to give Dorpfeld the building for $1.
With help from supporters, including Ninandre Bogue of Lyndonville, who did most of the painting in the building, they transformed it into a classroom, gathering room, training kitchen and office space for Trade 180.
Last Saturday they held an open house and basket raffle to introduce the community to their new venture.
Their program for men 18 to 25 includes a class titled “Powered for Life” and “Jobs for Life,” a nationally accredited program. Participants learn faith-based character building, conflict resolution, dignity of work, life skills, a trade and how to act in an interview and prepare a resume. Both men and women will learn in a 16-session class how to find and keep a job, develop character and receive a supportive community through mentorship.
The Biblical curriculum will help young people discover God’s purpose for their lives, thereby helping them become inspired, Dorpfeld said.
“We focus on special needs – not necessarily physical – but emotional and spiritual,” she said. “We want to get young people before they go down the wrong road.”
Classes are noon to 3 p.m. and lunch is served. In addition to an instructor, a nutritionist is available and mentors will be on hand.
Trade 180 is operating under the umbrella of Harvest Christian Fellowship. They are counting on donations and support from the community to operate. Anyone is invited to become a mentor, volunteer or support Trade 180 with a financial donation.
Donations may be made by logging on to www.hcforleans.com (under Trade 180 tab).