So—when someone comes to Shepherd’s Gate for help, what exactly do we do for them? Well, we listen—we do a lot of listening here. Upon check-in, each woman is assigned a case manager who will meet weekly, or bi-weekly, with her. This staff member will get to know well each woman on her case load. She listens. She listens to hear what has brought this particular woman to us and what needs, if any, she is already having met by other partnering agencies in the area. She listens to hear about her issues, her goals, her dreams.
The staff member and her client then begin the process of working together to create an action plan. This plan would include the client finding a job, developing a budget, opening a savings account (or adding to one that is already in place), and getting on a housing list. The case manager once again listens. She listens to find out everything that has happened during the week, she listens to the ups and downs of trying to put “the plan” into action, and she listens and hears stories that were not told at check-in. As trust has been building, the client now shares stories of her past with a voice of anger, disbelief, discouragement, shame, guilt–most often with shame and guilt. This is when the staff member can begin to get to the real root of what has brought this dear woman to us.
Often a client comes to us thinking that her problem is just her need to find a different job or a different neighborhood in which to live. More often than not, she needs to have some questions answered. She needs to know, “Where in the world was God when this was happening to me?” Or, “Why didn’t He stop it from happening?” She needs answers. She needs hope. She needs to heal. As we are privileged to show her from the Word of God what He says about her, about the plans that He has for her, about His love and care for her, well—we begin to see tremendous life change. We see joy on her face, a bounce in her step, an excitement about what God is doing in her life. And again—we listen!!