By Anthony Dumas, Drop In Center Coordinator
Last week, we took our dear friend Josh out for his final lunch as an Outreach Inc. youth. Josh turned 25 the end of December and we allowed him to tie up some loose ends before letting him end his time as an Outreach client. Our lunch was bittersweet. I have spent three years with Josh! We are excited for Josh entering his new season in life. A season where he will use the talks, the resources and tools that he has learned while being a client at Outreach.
The relationship that I have with Josh has allowed me to see deeply into the heart, soul and mind of a young man working every day to become better. His honesty and openness have given me the chance to be there and listen to him on his good days and definitely his bad days. I have watched Josh go from living in an abandoned home to getting his own apartment. After losing that apartment, I watched God move the mountains in Josh’s life, and he was housed in another apartment.
As a Case Manager you would think that it is about me helping and empowering the youth all the time, but that is so far from the entire story. Our youth empower us. Once relationships are built, as with Josh and myself, the situations that you come upon together can be incredibly tough and unique. Some of the situations, we find answers for. Some of the situations I do not have an answer for at all. When that has happened, Josh may not be pleased, but he knows that it is the truth at that time. This is when we sat together, prayed and allowed God to take the situation. That is what a true relationship is about. Especially at Outreach, we love and cherish our relationships.
Working with Josh over the past three years, has totally changed my perspective on how our young men have to fight to survive on the streets of Indy. Josh is a young man who wants a beautiful relationship with Christ, but is still learning that Christ is with him, especially during the bad times. He is a young man that wants to work to support his children, but it has to be the right job for Josh to thrive and last. Josh knows that he is biologically a father, but he is learning how to become a true and loving “Dad.” Josh is a man who wants to be a husband someday, and he is now realizing how to become the kind of man a woman wants to marry. He wants to stay out of trouble and is currently taking classes to control his anger. Instead of just waiting for people to hand him anything that he needs to survive, Josh knows the resource system for pantries and support better than anyone else I know. He is the go to guy for others who are in need. Josh is growing exponentially, and it is a blessing to watch.
I love the way he is utilizing partner resources and continuing to strengthen his faith. Josh has an incredible case worker at Midtown that continues to assist him. He is also working with a job-coach through Vocational Rehabilitation. The Neighborhood Legal Clinic is currently assisting Josh as well. I especially love the way that Joshua has found a new church home. We know there are folks there that love him and care for him, just as we do. Having a new team that shepherds him in Christ, is paramount for Josh. It is so important that Josh has surrounded himself with incredible people and organizations that are all aligned to give him direct help in areas he needs most.
Over the past three years, this is what I have seen Josh work towards every day. He is not 100% sure of himself, but I am. He wants to doubt his ability to survive without Outreach, but I know he will make it. He wants to work, and I know he will. I have seen this young guy begin to look at life from a perspective of a young Christian man. He is a man who wants the best for his children and himself. I may not be his case manager anymore, but I am now proud to just call Josh my friend and brother in Christ.