December’s monthly special plate collection will go to “Believe in Success,” a new program of the Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry. This program has been created to meet the needs of domestic abuse survivors, who are in shelters or have recently been in shelters, to transition into the work world and to help them develop a vision for their career paths. The students meet for 20 hours a week, for three months. The program was developed by a group of Unitarian Universalists with various experiences and expertise with this population, and included First Parish members Connee Counts and Al Jacobson. There is no model for this type of program, which offers a well-thought-out, creative, compassionate effort to provide learning and growth for people who have experienced trauma in their personal lives.
Program elements range from yoga and meditation, financial planning, and career development, to art therapy, practice interviews, and adult literacy. ESL is offered to Spanish and Chinese-speaking students. First Parish’s Minister Emerita Helen Cohen has been teaching a weekly course on adult literacy in the program and says: “It has been an immense learning and growth experience for me. I have met 13 diverse and fascinating human beings whose intelligence, warmth, courage, and humor have enriched my life. And these students are very grateful for a program that addresses their concerns in such a rounded, thoughtful, and hands-on manner.”
“Believe in Success” will have its second term with new students beginning in February. The Social Action Committee hopes that First Parish will generously support this innovative program, and invites you to meet with Greta Hagen, who will represent the UUUM and “Believe in Success” to describe this work at the beginning of the service, and with Connee, Al, Helen, and Social Action Chair Elaine Hylek at 12:00 following the service in the parlor.