The Journey May Seem Endless When You Know the Road Is Rough, But On the Other Side of Fear is Love
(Bay Shore, N.Y.) – Mercy Unto Thousands, a community-based outreach and educational program provided by Mercy Haven, Inc., successfully completed the fifth series of its Breakthrough sessions in Bay Shore, NY. This is the third graduation to have taken place at St. Patrick’s RC Church in Bay Shore. The intent of the program, replicated from a successful NYC program established by the Interfaith Assembly of Homelessness and Housing, helps to provide the tools of empowerment for the homeless, one community at a time.
On the evening of June 18th 2009, at St. Patrick’s RC Church on Main Street in Bay Shore, Mercy Haven, Inc. celebrated the graduation of 11 dedicated participants from its Mercy Unto Thousands Breakthrough Program. This group, the third to have graduated within Bay Shore, consisting of both men and women from the community who are currently or have experienced homelessness, was honored for their successful completion of the 12-week program. Thomas S., a Breakthrough Participant, shared his experience of the program with over 60 individuals in attendance:
“I wasn’t this person when I first came here. I’ve learned to be a better person, a better parent, a better friend.”
Another participant added:
“Breakthrough has been a guiding light in my path of darkness. It has taught me how to take control of my life and become a much better person for it. The program is a God-send.”
During the ceremony, each program participant was called up one by one to receive a personalized, framed certificate. The graduates also spoke to the audience, offering many words of gratitude to the volunteers and program mentors for their patience, hard work, dedication and support. Most significantly, the graduates expressed their appreciation for being treated like human beings, and for being shown that they are not alone in their struggles. After the graduation, all persons in attendance enjoyed a delicious meal cooked by volunteers. The 11 participants were clearly empowered by the program as they openly shared the strength the program has given them and the doors it has already begun to open.
The Mercy Unto Thousands Breakthrough Program first began in the spring of 2007 with a graduating class of 11 individuals. To date, there have been 55 graduates whose lives are forever changed. Many have moved on into permanent housing, have acquired jobs and have even gone to pursue college. These graduates are invited to meet on a monthly basis at Mercy Haven’s main office to discuss their goals and accomplishments.
Currently, Mercy Haven is working to organize the next sessions of Mercy Unto Thousands, to take place again in the Bay Shore community at St. Patrick’s RC Church. If you are interested in organizing meals, mentoring, or donating your time in some way, please call the Mercy Haven main office at (631) 277-8300.
Established in 1985, Mercy Haven, Inc. is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation. Mercy Haven’s mission is to engage and support Long Island’s most at-risk residents. Through advocacy, housing, supportive services, education and outreach we offer the community a place to experience and practice compassion. http://www.mercyhaven.org