The Salvation Army USA is divided into four distinct regions. Each region has its own headquarters and as such has some things unique to their territory. In the Southern Territory which stretches as far west as Texas and Oklahoma and north to Maryland, there are 23 Adult Rehabilitation Centers. We have many similarities but each place a bit unique often reflecting strengths of the staff or regional make-up. I thought it might be interesting to give you an idea of life inside the ARC.
First, we are not a treatment center. While Rehabilitation is part of our name it does not specifically refer to “rehab” as we’ve come to use that word. Most of the men in the program do have some kind of substance abuse issue though not all. Some have simply lost their way in life.
All the ARC’s have a minimum of a 6-month program. The program is built around work therapy, recovery programs, spiritual programs and outside activities.
Monday – Friday breakfast is at 6:30 followed by the morning meeting at 7:00. This meeting, led by the Administrator and Resident Manager, gets their day started with devotions and house announcements. Our resident manager often has special things on Friday’s. Last Friday was a poetry reading and the week before a Michael Jackson dance off. For a while they were doing Fear Factor Fridays and that’s all I’ll say about that 🙂 Quite a way to start ones day.
All the residents are assigned to 40 hour work therapy. They help in all areas from answering phones in our truck call office to housekeeping, kitchen, warehouse, etc. You might be surprised how many of the younger ones have never had a regular job. This is the first they’ve had to show up at a specified time for anything. (Selling drugs has more flexible hours, I understand)
Not only are they given three hot meals a day but the break cart goes around the warehouse twice daily with coffee and snacks.
Dinner is at 4:45 with evening classes, meetings and groups usually starting at 6:00 p.m. All men are placed in level meetings geared to the length of time they’ve been in the program. All are required to attend outside AA or NA meetings (we offer transportation).
Friday – Sunday are the only days they don’t have night meetings in-house.
On weekends there are seasonal activities like softball or bowling and many opportunities throughout the year for special events. We’ve been able to take groups to Cirque de Dreams with donated tickets as well as a huge Christmas Pageant one of the large churches does here in town. Our Program Director is always on the look out for free events.
Last year we were able to get a good “charity rate” on 10 season tickets to the Miami Dolphin home games. We’re hoping for that rate again.
The residence is on its own floor and is dormitory style. We have a capacity of 99. We have a computer lab, t.v. rooms and a canteen where they can purchase snacks. Each man gets a weekly gratuity based on length of stay. It’s minimal starting at $7.00/week.
Yes, we require things from them like their hair cut, no beards, shirts tucked in and no earrings, etc. Yes, we require them to participate in work therapy and attend chapel meetings.
We are able to use their food stamps to help pay for the food (the monthly budget is over $10,000) but that is the only financial help we receive. They are not charged for any services received. We do our best at getting them the physical and mental attention they may need. Our counselors are trained in addictions counseling.
I’m not bragging. Not at all. I just know every day thousands of cars drive by our building as people are heading to downtown Ft. Lauderdale to work in law offices, banks, medical buildings and stores and they have no idea what is going on behind the white brick façade of our building. They have no idea the bag of clothes they dropped off is part of what helps keep the air conditioner running for these men. Or the chair they bought for $75.00 helps pay the counselors. They have no idea how many lives are changed by a couple of bags of old clothes.
No, not bragging. Truly overwhelmed at how God is again multiplying the loaves and fish and how he changes the lost into found.