A local initiative to move fathers out of dependence to become self-supporting is restarting August 19.
Next Steps is a local program of Connections to Success that the Kansas government provides to work with men in transition from dependence.
New co-coordinators David Goodyear and Sue Emmons are starting a new term with the program, replacing Jean Tucker, who had to step down for health reasons.
“It’s a 14-week structured curriculum,” Goodyear said. “It has a three-day intensive ‘get to know you’, team building and skills assessment.”
“We are targeting men, but we are not exclusive,” Goodyear said. They work with women wanting to become self-sustaining as well.
Next Steps meets Mondays from 5-7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Fort Scott.
“The program is a collaboration of churches,” Goodyear said.
It is comprised of facilitators, who lead the discussion on a chosen topic, such as budgeting tools, conflict resolution, how to present yourself to an employer, how to do a resume, etc.
“We focus on personal, developmental, relational, vocational and spiritual,” Goodyear said.
Other people in the program are dedicated to helping with transporting participants to the meetings, and childcare during the meetings.
Then there are mentors-people who walk beside another person.
As a mentor, he has worked to develop relationships to help participants with decision making on such subjects as managing money or family conflicts, he said.
Many are battling isolation, lack of value and lacking a sense of belonging, Goodyear said.
“There is dignity in providing for themselves…We’ve had pretty good success,” he said.
Participants must learn such attributes as the mutual respect of showing up on time and not disrupting in group settings, Goodyear said.
Ages of participants in the past have varied from people in their 20s to those in their 60s.
For Emmons, she had been aware of the program and had referred people in prior jobs and was asked to join Next Steps as a facilitator/mentor about six months ago.
For Goodyear, the most practical way to show someone the Gospel of Jesus Christ is building relationships. He has been in the role of both facilitator and mentor as well for about five years.
To him, 1 John 3:18, is the inspiration: “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
For more information: contact Goodyear through Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene at 620-223-0131 or Emmons at 620-224-8096.