New Mexico's largest homeless shelter is not only giving people a warm meal and safe play to stay, it's also helping homeless people bounce back from the brink and make a fresh start in life.
Today, Joy Junction in Albuquerque is holding a ceremony for 10 graduates of its faith-based recovery scheme, the Christ in Power Program.
CIPP teaches guests at the shelter the skills they need to re-enter and succeed in the workplace, such as anger management, coping skills and resume writing.
"This is a significant milestone for our graduates," said Joy Junction founder and chief executive Dr. Jeremy Reynalds. "In fact, for some of them it is probably the first thing of any significance they have undertaken and successfully accomplished."
"We need to recognize them for this fact," he added. "I hope the community will come and join us in this celebration."
At the heart of CIPP is the desire to see homeless and addicted people get back on their feet again. That often means helping them to overcome other problems that have contributed to their homelessness.
"We require accountability and changes in behavior," Reynalds stated. "Our guests know that drugs, alcohol abuse, lying and other life controlling behaviors have helped them become homeless.
"However, we tell our program members that they don't have to change on their own. We let them know about the redemptive love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and help them assess the circumstances present in their lives that resulted in their descent into the homelessness or addiction."
Getting them back into the workplace also means helping them to harness the skills they already have in order to get hired.
"Homeless people are not typically unskilled in the areas needed in the job market," said Reynalds. "However, many times for a number of reasons they lack the life skills necessary to keep a job or to persuade an employer to hire them.
"We do our best at Joy Junction to help our program participants succeed and be all that the Lord intended them to be."
Joy Junction bills itself as a faith-based church ministry that provides a hand up and not a handout.