Summer 1997 Newsletter

Summer, 1997

SUMMER greetings from all of us who serve the rural homeless through Good Works Inc.—A community of HOPE !!

In addition to our daily work helping the rural homeless through the Emergency Shelter, Hannah House and our Friday Night Life outreach, the summer months have provided us with an opportunity to host youth and adult work camps from all around the Midwest. So far, this summer, we have received more than 80 people. These folks come and stay at our Luhrig property and assist with repairs and projects at the Emergency Shelter, Hannah House and in the neighborhood. Last spring, we worked with an OU class to survey many of our neighbors in order to learn who had physical household needs that we could assist with. It has been a joy and privilege to direct many of these volunteers towards assisting our neighbors in need this summer. It all gives new meaning to the phrase…good works!

Many of you have asked us if we see more homeless people during the colder months of the year, or if there is any pattern to when people come for help. In reality, no. People do come to Good Works however, in waves. We will have a week of recovering alcoholic men in their later 40s, a month where we have several single parents with children under the age of three, several days where we have unrelated travelers with similar stories. It is almost mystical.


  • Rachel and her children came to us as a result of a series of circumstances which collided in her life and caused her to become homeless. Rachel had a good work history and was first time homeless. Something happened to pull the rug out from her feet. Living in the shelter was very difficult for Rachel’s children. We were able to enroll the kids in the City’s day-recreation program and the free pool passes helped a lot. Nevertheless, the emotional and spiritual emptiness in their lives caused them to get themselves into trouble. Imitating the behaviors of their father, the young children soon became unruly and abusive towards their mother. Control was lost. Everyone was at wits’ end.

  • Julie came back to Southeast Ohio from another city because of the abusive relationship she had experienced some time ago. She really worked at doing something to stabilize herself and quickly got a job (with the help of our staff). But soon, the men who hang out in the neighborhood came around and one persuaded her to leave with him. We grieve when we see vulnerable and recovering people being taken advantage of by others. Julie’s leaving was abrupt. We knew she had not yet begun to work on the issues which caused her to become homeless.

  • Brian is back with us again. He has stayed on an off with us for the past 10 years. He is in a rut and we grieve for him as well. Moving from place to place, friend to friend, failed venture after failed venture, Brian is addicted to denial as a way of life. He seems to have so little motivation to change the destructive patterns which have kept him unstable. We grieve because we love him.

  • Janet came to us with a 3 month old baby. She had stayed at Good Works several years ago while she was coming out of her teenage years. This time, her ‘travel life’ and instability caused her to become homeless.

  • Roger had called us on several occasions but had never come to stay here. His calls usually came in the middle of the night and he was usually drunk. Each time, we urged Roger to get help and tried to persuade him where to go first. Roger continued to call and continued to not show up for shelter.

Since I began working at Good Works I’ve gone through different stages of attitudes toward the residents I meet with. Lately I’m in the frustrated stage. I catch myself looking down upon the very people I should have compassion on. My patience wears thin when I encourage a man to meet with his employer to talk about why his hours have been cut and he replies that I’m dumping on him. When I meet with residents to discuss proper work ethics and soon afterwards they quit their job because they had a conflict with their manager, I want to scream. I think, “What’s wrong with these people, don’t they care about themselves?” The other day in the midst of my judgement, God said, “How can they care about themselves when no one else does?” It was nothing of my own doing to be born into a family who encouraged me, loved me unconditionally, and told me I could do or be anything, and gave me money to experiment. Is my job here to find residents work? Is it to motivate them to improve their job performance? Am I to listen to them, love them, have compassion? How do I juggle these things? This is what I’m brainstorming. —Angie Pyle
— Angie worked on our outreach until last June as a job/vocational counselor. She continues to volunteer with us.


  • Rick stopped in yesterday to say hi. His wife had brought us groceries last week when she went shopping for her family. Rich and his wife are both going to Hocking College and, although still struggling at times, are progressing well. They stayed at Good Works last fall for several months.

  • Stewart made the Deans list at Hocking College. He will graduate this next spring. He and his family stayed here for several months in 1995.

  • Sharon is flowering. She continues to maintain the employment she found when she came to Good Works. Her face reflects a woman who is making healthy choices and who has a new sense of direction. It is contagious.

  • Brent is also in the same job he found when he stayed with us. He is working hard at keeping it too. He struggles. We have all noticed his progress both in attitude and action. We want to continue to help him make good choices for his life.

William came to us this summer at the age of 76. A resident? No. William came to serve as a volunteer. His joy and gentleness are a true inspiration to all of us. He comes once a week and gives us all a strong dose of reality. I suspect we are gaining much more from him then he realizes. Have you ever thought that you need to serve others in order to a remain healthy and balanced person? Have you wondered whether you might make a short term, entry level comittment to “test out” your desire to get involved with the needs of others? Then why not consider a once a week involvement with Good Works ? Our week-night volunteer opportunity (from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm once a week) runs for 10 weeks. It is something to consider. For more information, call Mike Teagarden at 594-3339 and then come by for an application, a short tour and talk by one of our staff. As much as the poor or homeless need our help, equally so—equally so—we need to help them.

Love is a verb,
Keith Wasserman