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Empower Growth with Tools that Encourage Personal Responsibility

Written by: Mediware on Thursday, February 15, 2018 Posted in: Rescue Missions

This simple approach can help you avoid a culture of ‘Enabling’

The instinctive desire to help others is one way we all reflect the image of God. Yet this well-meaning impulse can actually perpetuate rather than solve a problem when you don’t stand up to wrong behaviors. You worry a promising resident will walk away if you don’t forgive an unexplained absence…and so the absences continue.

We call this “enabling.” Fortunately, there are tools that can empower — rather than enable — your residents. One of these tools is a software platform that tracks resident activity throughout their time in your mission. You are able to note positive behaviors like receiving Christ or family reunification. You can also note problems like unruliness or missing a check-in. Since all features are customizable, missions can design Spero to fit their environment.

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When every staff member can log and view these activities, you create a more consistent experience and a sense of community that can instill personal responsibility in a safe, measured setting. Here are three examples…

Privileges are earned and enjoyed

Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles is one of the nation’s largest RMs, providing 250,000 nights of shelter every year. Scannable ID cards for residents allow for high-volume check-in and quickly allow staff to check clients into beds, meals, classes and work assignments.

Just as important, the cards encourage personal responsibility. Residents are credited with points for work they do around the mission or classes they attend. This has helped instill a culture of achievement that may translate into better outcomes. The points can be used to attend special events or other activities.

Now the mission is exploring how to use small, affordable computing devices that could be distributed throughout the facility to speed check-in of all events. In the future, this may also lead to self-service features that would give residents even more personal accountability.

Greater community involvement helps residents integrate faster

You can also open accounts for people other than residents, such as volunteers or law enforcement. For example, community members can use their points for meals at the mission’s culinary kitchen, or for vocational classes that the mission offers. You can also give limited access to the Spero System to local law enforcement and other community agencies that serve the same clients. An officer or agency staff member can use their smart phone to gain basic facts about the person, such as name and current living status at the mission or any alerts or notifications entered in Spero.

Enhanced safety and discipline & positive activity

Tracking activity in a centralized platform also lead to more consistent enforcement of policy. If a resident violates house rules, any staff member can enter that information in the system. Then on check-in, the staff member on duty is instantly alerted of any precautions or disciplinary actions to be taken, such as losing a bed assignment bed or being removed from the facility.  While scannable ID cards are very convenient, missions can use most of Spero’s features without them.

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