Serving in Bloomington (Part 1)

Serving in Bloomington (Part 1)

This piece was guests authored by Dana Jones, Wheeler Mission’s Bloomington Area Program Director.

A dynamic community. A growing need.

Nestled in the rolling hills of beautiful South-Central Indiana is the picturesque city of Bloomington—where I’ve loved working for almost 19 years. Just north of Lake Monroe and the home of Indiana University, it’s known for higher education, cultural diversity, and community involvement. Unfortunately, Bloomington also has a significant homeless population and a great need for affordable housing.

Serving in Bloomington.

Wheeler Mission helped meet that need by opening its doors in 2015, following mergers with Backstreet Mission and Agape House. Here, guests find food, shelter, clothing, a dayroom, case management, and access to other mental health and housing agencies—all in an environment of compassion. Further, we offer multiple residential programs for guests (men, women, and children) to develop life skills, revitalize family units, and overcome addiction. For instance, the Foundations program offers life skills training and case management to its participants and is ideal for those not struggling with addiction. For those who do battle addiction, Wheeler offers Higher Ground for women, and the Hebron Addiction Recovery Program for men. Men begin the program at our Center for Men and are assessed before beginning the core program at our Hunt Training Center (a scenic 285-acre campus located in northern Monroe County). Many of our guests are employed, and a program is offered for them as well. We offer Connect to help our program graduates join a local faith community and obtain work and housing as they reestablish within the community.

Dana Jones (pictured right) with a guest at our Center for Men in Bloomington.

Moving from despair to hope.

Wheeler Mission isn’t just defined by what it does, but by whom it serves. A recent guest came seeking shelter after having been discharged from a local hospital. The gentleman struggled with addiction much of his life and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. During this period, his only child was removed from his home and despair took over. Alone and hopeless, he attempted to take his own life. Fortunately, someone discovered him in time and he survived. Following his hospitalization, this man came to our Center for Men and was met with compassion, concern, and real help. Today, he’s about to receive housing and is filled with hope! He believes God has given him a new chance with life. In his words, “Jesus is in control of my life and only he knows when it will end.”  This is the real story of Wheeler’s work in Monroe County—helping those struggling with hopelessness and despair to be filled with hope.