Spring Newsletter 2018
Some News from the Dubuque Rescue Mission
Love Last year, the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was a box-office hit. The Beast is a hideous creature who is rude, mean and lacks any shred of civility – as a Beast should be, I suppose. I share this because I experienced a similar Beast, of sorts, here at the Mission. I was awakened at 3:30 inthe morning by a call from the Mission because a resident was drunk and assaulting another resident. When I arrived, Roger was clearly under the influence, bleeding from a wound, screaming, kicking and punching another resident who was trying to get away from him. He was so enraged, he literally looked like a wild man thrashing about and pouncing on his victim. Another staff and I were able to restrain Roger, but his wild/beastly behavior was frightening the other staff. I remained calm and kept telling Roger to breathe deeply and stop his resistance – we were there to help, not harm him. Because Roger was so violent, the Police were called and he was taken to the hospital. It wasn’t until I arrived back home around 5 a.m. that I sat and prayed for Roger. In my prayer I was reminded of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. As portrayed, the Beast was angry, violent, rude, and belligerent because of what happened to him – he had been put under a spell by an evil witch. It took someone who was kind and loving (Belle) to see that this was not his true nature – that underneath the ugly and fierce skin was a glorious child of God (Prince in Disney’s version). This was true of Roger – his beastly outburst was the result of years of abuse and shame – being physically/sexually assaulted as a child; fighting and drinking his way through life until so much pain and alienation landed him years in prison. Now, today, a lifetime later, all that ugliness, anger and violence came rushing out like a Beast looking to attack its prey. I wonder if the two thieves that hung on either side of Jesus were like the Rogers of this world -vile, beastly, ugly and profane. Yet, the one recognizing Jesus’ innocence was able to humbly ask to be remembered, while the other mocked and taunted Jesus to save himself and them. We know today that Redemption is possible – people change and their true “princely/divine” nature is discovered when someone chooses to love them rather than alienate or shame them. That’s what we do here – try to love the ugliness, anger, rejection, beastly nature of some of our most wounded residents. As it was for Belle, it can be frightening to encounter. You may move forward in loving-kindness and they lash out in anger and violence. Yet, we keep trying, hoping that the next encounter, something is touched deep down inside and they begin to transform before our eyes. What was one day ugly and vile is now beautiful, gentle, humble and pure. This was Roger two days after this whole ugly episode. I was able to sit with him and have him see another part of himself that is buried deep inside. Like the Beast, love was able to bring about his true identity and a new creature was born. This encounter was touching and transforming for both of us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 Many of you are aware that we cannot offer and be present to the “the most wounded among us” without your support and prayers. I’m often asked what the Mission needs: We need your prayers. We need your compassionate and loving presence. We need your financial help. We need your commitment to love those who sometimes seem beastly and vile. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to each of you who have accompanied us over these 86 years – making this Mission an extraordinary place of hope and healing.
Love Last year, the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast was a box-office hit. The Beast is a hideous creature who is rude, mean and lacks any shred of civility – as a Beast should be, I suppose. I share this because I experienced a similar Beast, of sorts, here at the Mission. I was awakened at 3:30 in
Trust I believe in heavenly beings who are present to us on this journey called life. As difficult as some days can be here at the Mission, I have to trust that what Jesus said is true: “I will be with you until the end of the ages (Mt. 28:20). There are times when I feel so close and loved by Jesus that my confidence and vigor seem to be without end. Other times, it’s more like the picture below: There are celestial beings everywhere, protecting and comforting the men and others who come so burdened to our ministries. When I leave the Mission each night – I trust that all the men will be well as they rest in the lap and arms of any number of heavenly beings. I guess the good sisters of my Catholic grade school years taught enough about our Guardian Angels that the impact has comforted me through some pretty challenging times. So, each day, we arise and trust the Easter promise that love conquers hate; light overcomes darkness; new life follows death; hope carries us over the valley of despair; goodness wipes out evil; and forgiveness heals alienation.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. Its appearance was like lightening, and its clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. The go quickly and tell the disciples: He is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him.
May the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection fill you with hope and love. A Blessed Easter to all our readers.
In 1932, a number of Dubuque area churches explored the possibility of providing a ministry to the less fortunate. Originally, there was a need to minister to the transients who traveled the nation during the Great Depression. From these beginnings, the Dubuque Rescue Mission was born. 75 Years of Service – THANK YOU!Through the years, the Dubuque Rescue Mission has been able to meet many of the ever-changing needs of the less fortunate. What has made our ministry a success? The people, churches and organizations who help us with financial gifts and donations of food and goods. Because of the generosity of these individuals and organizations, we can serve those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We thank them for their support. Learn more.
If you haven’t volunteered because your intentions for doing so aren’t completely altruistic, don’t let that stop you. Extensive research into the motivations for volunteering shows that often, an act of volunteering has both an altruistic and egoistic, or self-serving, component. That’s not necessarily bad, researchers say, as the two can feed each other for the greater good. Here are seven great ways volunteering can help you while you help others.
1. You are actually doing something
Many of us have heard the disturbing new saying sitting is the new smoking, equating the act of sitting with the health dangers of a smoking habit. If that isn’t enough to get you off the couch and out of the house, committing to volunteer with a youth sports program or elder exercise class might be the added incentive you need. As a volunteer at the Y, for example, you can coach youth sports ranging from swimming to boxing or volleyball, teach group exercise classes, lead outdoor adventures hiking in nature and more. You’ll get some necessary exercise and the kids’ enthusiasm is sure to give you an additional endorphin kick as well.
2. You’ll get a sense of belonging
In our social media-saturated world, we may be more up-to-date with what our friends are doing, but research shows we feel a lot less connected with others. Loneliness is actually becoming epidemic. If being around people was all it took to cure loneliness, anyone who has co-workers or a family at home might be immune. But research shows the problem goes deeper than that, and the trick may be involving yourself with people with whom you share a common mission and who won’t trigger feelings of self-doubt. Fundraising for a nonprofit is one way into that rising-tide-lifts-all-boats community.
3. You’ll live in a better community
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t want to live in a clean, safe, vibrant community. And while your block or your neighborhood may be all of those things, chances are good that a nearby neighborhood isn’t faring so well. A troubled neighborhood in any town or city is bad for the community at large; homelessness, hunger, inadequate healthcare and disengaged youth all have a pernicious effect. There are myriad ways to mitigate these problems, from providing essential services to the homeless and feeding the hungry to tutoring youth. One place you can start is with Togetherhood®, the Y’s member-led volunteer service program that empowers diverse groups of Y members and neighbors to connect, plan and carry out community service projects.
4. You can improve your marketable skills
Research shows that volunteers are 27% more likely to find a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. Parents who are looking to re-enter the workforce after raising a family or who have been downsized, or recent college or high school grads looking for their first job, could all gain from some additional relevant experience. Volunteering, whether it’s coaching sports, doling out supplies, tutoring kids or lending a hand after a community emergency, helps build the skills essential to succeed in the workplace, such as teamwork, time-management, goal-setting and prioritization.
5. You can be the office hero
Forward-thinking companies have learned that employees want more than just a paycheck from their jobs. They want to feel connected to the mission, to have a sense of shared purpose and to feel they have an impact. Among the ways businesses are addressing these employee needs is by creating opportunities to volunteer as part of a company-wide initiative. If your company supports such activities, encourage your co-workers to join you at an upcoming event. If your company doesn’t, either work with your HR department to find a nonprofit to partner with or take the lead and develop an opportunity for your immediate group. Research indicates that volunteer service improves employee morale, engagement and retention.
6. You’ll be a stronger leader
There are only so many leadership roles in any organization. So while you may manage a few employees or a whole department, you may not have a voice in your company’s overall strategy. Still, those with experience in finance, management, marketing, strategy and more can have a meaningful role in shaping and guiding an organization through volunteer leadership positions at a nonprofit. For example, volunteers lead every YMCA. The board of directors, comprised of volunteers, is responsible for fiduciary oversight, CEO selection, philanthropic leadership and cause-driven strategies to ensure the Y is on strong footing to have the greatest community impact.
7. You’ll feel mentally stronger and possibly live longer
There has been extensive research on why people volunteer. Is it to make us feel better? Is it purely altruistic? After more than 20 years of study, research indicates that there are five main motivations for volunteering: to satisfy values, for community concern, for esteem enhancement, to gain understanding and for personal development. So while volunteering is often associated with something that matters to you personally, there is an added benefit: volunteering at least 200 hours a year—or under four hours a week—is associated with greater increases in physical well-being such as low blood pressure. Further, when your volunteer activities are other-focused, as opposed to purely for your own self-interest, research shows your mortality risk decreases.
CONTENT BY NBC NEWS BRAND STUDIO ON BEHALF OF YMCA