Men’s Challenge helps participants recover their lives
“We take men who are perceived as unemployable,” said Ed Carter, executive director.
Carter said men enroll in an eight-week curriculum that offers instruction in basic living and job-seeking skills on Wednesdays with the ultimate goal of connecting participants to their families, potential employers, “and Jesus.”
The faith-based outreach has two locations: The Alliance of Churches building at 470 E. Broadway St., and at Love Canton at 701 Walnut Ave. NE in Canton.
“Our society would be very surprised at the men who have not had any coaching or mentoring,” he said. “For me, one of the shocking things is how many people haven’t worked an eight-hour day where you have to be there and do a great job.”
“Men also need to be the good fathers God designed them to be,” said the Rev. Roger Meir, outreach pastor at Alliance Friends Church.
Meir, who also works with Men’s Challenge, noted that 75 to 85 percent of incarcerated men grew up in fatherless homes.
Carter said Men’s Challenge was founded by three men who “had a dream.” One was focused on inner-city work with men. Another, he said, wanted to foster hands-on education, and the third wanted to teach men how to work.
Since its founding, Men’s Challenge has served 700 men with a success rate of 54 percent employment, Carter said.
Carter said Men’s Challenge partners with a number of agencies including 24/7 Dads, CommQuest, MK Workshops, local courts, local businesses and area churches.
“Many churches have come together to support us through mentorship and finances,” Carter said. “It’s been really great.”
For instance, MK Workshop offers one-day work training so men can learn how to drive a tow motor and how to work in a warehouse, Meir said.
“We’re finding good-paying jobs where they can support their families,” he said. “That’s what encourages us to keep going.”
Carter said one of the biggest obstacles in the ministry is convincing participants of their worth.
“One of the most challenging things is men who don’t see their potential,” he said, “They can’t grasp what God has for them.”
Meir said it can be difficult for the men to walk away from family or friends who might be enablers.
“We want men, regardless of their age or race, to have the opportunities we’ve had,” he said. “Someone mentored us and presented Christ to us to change our lives. If you can’t change the heart of a man, you can’t change a man.”
Meir said the mission of Men’s Challenge rests on Jeremiah 29:11 in the Old Testament: “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not evil to give you an expected end.”
“I always share with them to focus on what God says about them; not other people,” he said.
Carter said the reward of Men’s Challenge is helping homeless men find housing, good paying jobs and connecting them to their families and a church.
Doug Lott, the coordinator of the Alliance office, said many of the men they serve are hampered by a lack of skills and by dropping out of school.
“They drop out so quickly, he said. “They don’t know the impact it will have on the rest of their lives.”
Even so, Lott said, he feels obligated to help.
“It’s an opportunity to give back,” he said of his work. “I feel our generation has failed this generation.”
Meir said participants learn about Men’s Challenge through court referrals, churches, family members or word of mouth.
“A lot of girlfriends and wives,” Carter said with a smile. “For me, I want a man to become whole so he can connect to his family and a church so he can make a positive impact.”
For more information, call 330-821-6367 or 330-428-2764. In Canton, call 330-754-6203, or visit www.Menschallenge.org.
Original article found here.