I truly admire the mission, staff, clients and success of H.I.M. Changing the behavior of adults is a true challenge. Many of these students come from backgrounds of abuse, neglect, abandonment, drug use and prison time. Many do not have a high school diploma, further limiting employment options. They have no skill sets to "help themselves" (as some admonish). They don't know how to interview for a job, balance a check book, pay bills in a timely manner or even communicate effectively. Simple things -- such as the value and importance of eye-contact -- are not part of the culture in which they were raised. They want to escape the lives of "quiet desperation" in which they find themselves; they simply don't know how. The 13 week H.I.M. program establishes standards and provides skills that empower these students to be independent and self-sufficient. It works. I've seen it grow over the last 2 years, and am constantly amazed at the "tough-love yet compassionate" manner in which the H.I.M. staff embrace these lost souls, and help them convert themselves into solid citizens. Specifically, I help with meals (because the lunch meal is often the only real food these students get each day) and I help with mock job interviews held about half-way through the structured program. These interviews prepare the students for real-world interviews, and they are often difficult, requiring candid assessments of appropriate attire, demeanor, confidence, articulation, eye-contact and resume gaps. It's a great investment of time, because the students DO learn that they have some control over how they present themselves, and that landing a job is dependent on more than the good will of the employer. They have to sell themselves, and, for many of them, this is a brand new concept.
I've worked as a volunteer with many agencies and organizations over the last 30 years and find the work of H.I.M. to be the most life-changing. It's an honor to work with individuals who are dedicated to long-term life healing, and not just short-term, temporary fixes to symptomatic or cyclical problems.