For most of the graduates of our Fresh Start Rehabilitation Program, the real challenge of becoming a productive citizen and responsible parent or family member begins when they move into what we call the “Work Start phase” of our program. Most of these men and women have obstacles to overcome before they are ready to meet the challenges of the work environment. Some of these obstacles are financial, some are pending legal issues and some are due to lack of training. Through our career services the graduate students deal with each of these obstacles and prepare themselves for a brighter future. The process starts with the basics… how to prepare a resume, filling out the job application and learning how to prepare for an interview.
Utilizing group sessions, individual counseling and role play, financial training and legal assistance, each student is given the tools and gains the confidence to begin the journey to successful employment.
At this point, many students who have been in the healing process of rehabilitation for more than one year, with no income, and are capable of performing well in a chosen career path that requires higher education or advanced training, face the challenge of paying for this training. The Mission currently makes available approximately $2,500 per student to assist up to 30 persons in attending Los Angeles Trade Tech or other community colleges. Mission funding supplements financial aid provided by the school. We want to help each student earn certification or an Associate Degree in their chosen fields of study.
The Los Angeles Mission has established relationships with employers in the community that hire our graduate students; some of these include: Kaiser Permanente, Vons, Fresco, Universal Studio’s, Doubletree Hotel and Dash/MTA. Recent statistics reflecting placement of job applicants through our Career Services Department are as follows: LAM /ADC Students: 77 Referred – 59 Placed, Returning Alumni: 5 Referred – 5 Placed, Friends and Neighbors: 3 Referred – 2 Placed, Total: 85 Referred – 66 Placed. These figures reflect a 78% placement rate for our graduate students.
The ability to find employment is a huge step for our graduates on their path to returning to the community, but it is just one step. Successful reunification with family is often difficult for some graduates due to the problems and circumstances created by their addictive behavior. The Mission’s Bridge Program involves family members of our students while they are in recovery as part of the healing process. It’s vital for students to know they are not alone in their efforts to rebuild their lives. The hands-on encouragement provides an opportunity for family to experience what the students are dealing with in their recovery and become aware of the obstacles that might confront them when they leave our programs. The importance of this part of our programs cannot be overstated because it provides a bridge for our students who are parents to return to being a positive element in family again.
Our goal is for all of our students to be successful members of society and provide support for their family. To assist them in their reunification with family, the Mission provides Parenting Classes. For some of our students who were appointed by the court system to our programs, these Parenting Classes are required. The classes are taught by certified instructors and are open to all students, whether or not they are required. These classes are another step in the bridge process of returning to family as a supportive parent and family member.
In addition to our transitional housing for graduate students, the Los Angeles Mission also works diligently through our Alumni Services Department to assure that as many of our homeless friends and neighbors as possible find permanent supportive housing. For most who qualify, the major obstacle for obtaining supportive housing is the paperwork process; we assist them with applications and necessary documentation. All of our referrals to SRO Emergency Housing are clean and sober and, after a 90 day evaluation, most are placed in permanent supportive housing.