Ross Medical has once again shown its passion for helping others and making an impact in the community. For the third year in a row, the Kokomo campus participated in the 19th Annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes to support the Kokomo Rescue Mission. The walk is a community event and it is the Rescue Mission’s largest fundraising event of the year. Many organizations take part and help sponsor the costs of the event. This year, approximately 70 teams participated! All of the money that was raised from the walk will go towards funding the new women’s shelter that opened up last fall.
The Kokomo Rescue Mission has a lot of facets to what they do. They are most known for the fact that they feed the public every day and they house people. They have three shelters: a men’s area, an area for women and children, and another area for single women. The Rescue Mission also offers a lot of different programs. For example, individuals will oftentimes be asked to go to this organization through drug courts. The courts have a program where if individuals are doing good, they can be released to a shelter that does accountability instead of jail. The goal is that they will go through a program to better themselves and soon go back into society. In addition, individuals also have access to programs that help with job skills, financial management, and just basic life skills that perhaps they might have missed along the way.
The other aspect of the organization is that they provide an assistance program for the public. They have a food pantry, and they also provide clothing, furniture, and household items to those who need it. Just last year, they served over 120,000 meals! The sheltered guests get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The public, who is income qualified, gets lunch and dinner. It really helps them out with their budgets because instead of spending money on groceries, they can eat at the pantry and save that money for utilities or other things they need to get ahead.
One of the individuals who helps run this organization is Pam Givens, the Chief Development Officer. When talking to Pam, it is obvious that her leadership position is more than just a job to her. She is extremely passionate about making a difference in the community and helping individuals heal. Pam has seen complete transformations take place for some of the people that have come to the Kokomo Rescue Mission to get help. She had one gal who came in with a lot of trauma, and just needed some help getting back on her feet. She went through the complete program that is offered by the organization and graduated in a few months. At the time, they had their transition home for women who got jobs and were transitioning into permanent stable housing. While they were there, they would work on their financial management, grocery shopping, and cooking meals. Pam stated, “She went through all those programs and is now doing amazing. She is out on her own, she has her own housing, and a job. We’re really thankful to see her life change.”
Pam seems to have a really profound understanding of human psychology, trauma, and the process of healing. She worked in the medical field for 27 years and quickly discovered that it is in her nature to help others. She stated, “This is a little bit different than a hospital setting. In the hospital, it was more about treating the physical ailments, but here, it’s the hurt on the inside that we’re trying to heal. Some individuals are able to withstand trauma and still be responsible adults, but others are severely affected by it. We often see these angry adults that come to us, but it’s really important to look deeper than that. Oftentimes, those who have experienced trauma as kids and have not worked through it, end up having problems as adults. Beneath all of that anger is still this broken little child that just wants to be loved. We really try to reach them at the inner core of who they are because we believe healing comes from the inside out. You can put them in the right programs, you can surround them with the services that they need, but if there’s no change on the inside to that broken little person, that cycle will just continue. They’ll make poor choices, be good for a while, and make poor choices again. So we’re really trying to break that cyclic nature of the bondage they’re in with drugs or whatever it may be.”
The students, staff, and faculty at the Kokomo campus were really excited to participate in this community event. They collected money and some had family members and friends sponsor them for the walk. They also raised money by going out into the community and asking different organizations for sponsorships. This walk was especially meaningful to Shannon Spencer, the Kokomo campus director. In the past, she has had students come in and out from the Kokomo Rescue Mission. She stated, “When I first started teaching, I had a student who was living in her car, so we connected her with one of the shelters at the Rescue Mission. She stayed there for a little bit, and eventually, we helped her get an apartment and a job. She’s kinda one of those success stories. Ever since then, I’ve tried to be part of this organization and help in any way that I can.”
It’s safe to say that the walk was a success for everyone. The community enjoyed the opportunity to help fund and support the new women’s shelter, and the Kokomo Rescue Mission will use the funds for a good cause. More information on the Kokomo Rescue Mission can be found at https://kokomorescuemission.org/.