Lee Beaman Commentary: Faith-Based Groups Excel at Reforming Lives

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by Lee Beaman

 

Helping people escape lives of generational chaos and trauma is something we should all do as fellow humans, and people of faith take this calling to heart especially deeply. Governmental leaders have often considered adopting partnerships between public agencies and private organizations that excel at addressing social crises. Such partnerships are high on the list of priorities for both Governor Bill Lee and President Donald Trump. The power of faith in reforming lives is undeniable.

Take, for example, the non-profit program Men of Valor. Its success rate is undeniable. Prison reform is a critical need in our society today, and Men of Valor’s success rate is remarkable. With an average recidivism rate of over 70 percent nationally, Men of Valor graduates of their one-year program have a recidivism rate below 15 percent.

Programs like Men of Valor are equipped to deal with multiple problems that tend to cluster, like substance abuse, childhood abuse and poor educational attainment. In the people helped by Men of Valor, these issues coalesced into criminal activity and they were incarcerated as a result. Men of Valor began through the efforts of one man. The late Carl Carlson began this program with the single purpose of reducing the number of men who return to prison. It is not merely a crime prevention tool, however. Men of Valor has found that they must work to help people in all areas of their lives, including job skills, drug and alcohol abuse, past childhood abuse and challenges in marriage and parenting, just to name a few. Helping people prepare to live successful, productive lives must address multiple systems.

Programs like Men of Valor are shining examples that non-profit and faith-based programs are successful and clear choices for helping others. These programs are typically jump-started by one person or a group of people who are struck by a need in their community and are galvanized to help. Being in the trenches to help those in need causes a person to see problems from a completely different vantage point. These are not more programs churned out by a local governmental body. Non-profit groups are successful, driven entities dedicated to helping others. The difference is stark.

Nashville is also proud to be home of the Nashville Rescue Mission. It began in 1953 by the actions of one man. Rev. Charles Fuller, who was a well-regarded radio minister, came to preach at the Ryman Auditorium. He was struck by the number of homeless men who were clustered nearby the Ryman. He asked if he could return the fee provided to him for his efforts and have it be used to help the homeless in Nashville. From his efforts came what is now the Nashville Rescue Mission. Just last year alone, the Rescue Mission provided over a quarter-million of sheltered nights’ sleep to the homeless in Nashville. They served over 500,000 meals. They did this with over 40,000 hours donated by volunteers. It is clear that the impassioned plea of one person can make a very real and very needed difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

We must all work together to help each other. We may do it out of a kind heart, we may do it out of a way to give back for the help we received ourselves and we may do it out of a personal calling from our faith. But whatever calls you to help your neighbor, do it well. We all benefit from the help that one person begins. What one person begins, thousands will continue.

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A lifelong Nashvillian, Lee Beaman serves on the Board of Directors for Men of Valor, and is Chairman and CEO of Beaman Automotive Group , an advertiser in The Tennessee Star, a part of the Star News Digital Media family of digital news sites.
Background Photo “Men of Valor” by Men of Valor

 

 

 

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