One great way to plug into ICM is to arrange for a service trip. This can be an individual effort of a few hours, or a group missions trip of several days. Usually, Saturdays are a great day for volunteering, but any day works if it is available on our calendar. These do involve some advance planning, so be sure and consult with us ahead of time.
We never know what service projects will be happening at any given time, so we ask that all group members bring clothes that they are willing to destroy (usually, via paint). Day groups usually help out in the following ways:
ICM has quite a few jobs that need to be done on a regular basis, but which we do not have the man-power for. Helping us with these tasks saves us contractor costs, helps our organization stay in compliance with state codes, and allows our residents to live in a safe environment.
Some of the regular jobs that need done include yard work to keep our grounds presentable and attractive; organizing our pantry, paper shed, deep freezer, and garage; cleaning and sanitizing; and painting, indoors and out!
Quite often, we have larger projects in the works. These can vary significantly in size and scope. Some examples are: helping a resident move in or out; renovating a resident room; assempling/disassembling furniture.
Playing with Resident Children
A great way for groups to impact our resident’s lives is to entertain their kids for a while under the supervision of our staff. This will either give the parent needed rest, or allow them to do activities on their own behalf such as employment, homework, or job hunting. We try to shower our kids with as much love as possible! Be prepared to fall in love.
We offer a weekend retreat for groups that revolves around serving, fellowship and worshipping God. These weekends usually consist of arriving Friday night and leaving Sunday morning. There is a lot of flexibility with dates and duration of the weekend. Some groups come Saturday morning. Some stay and do a worship service with our residents on Sunday morning. Some will leave Sunday morning to make it back to their home church. Again, lot of flexibility here.
Chores such as those listed under Day Groups also apply here, on a wider scale. In addition, if a group has specific skills, like carpentry or manual labor (or are quick learners), we often dedicate a weekend to seeing a special project through to the end.
Recently we had a group build a wheelchair ramp going into the front of our shelter building, making us handicap accessible! Another group extended the sidewalk around the new ramp.
It was a group that purchased and installed a professional basketball hoop for our court out back.
Multiple groups have redone flooring or renovated rooms.
Our old clothing distribution
center is being renovated currently, and various
groups are being used to make progress on the renovation.
We ask that overnight groups bring meals for the house, usually breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday (refer to the Fellowship Dinner page). Mealtime traditionally is the best time for groups to interact with residents.
Most commonly, a group will arrive between 7-11:00 pm Friday, and settle into sleeping quarters (nothing fancy, mind you). Unless you are family, we have guys and girls bunk in separate rooms. We usually have a couple couches or beds for leaders or adults to sleep on, but the rest will be on the floor. Feel free to bring air mattresses, sleeping bags, or anything you desire.
Once settled in, if it is not too late, we will all meet in the shelter office building for a run-down of some ground rules, and a quick debriefing of what to expect during the weekend. The leaders of the group will be given Master Keys to the premises, which will get you anywhere on property except certain offices. Groups have the freedom to hang out in the common areas (kitchen, living room, front office), but after 9:00 pm each night, our staff member in charge of the group heads home for the night, and the leader of the group is in charge (another staff member, designated ‘lodge supervisor’, is on shift 24/7 in the front office, and can be summoned in case of important questions or emergency).
Saturday begins with breakfast. Your group is in charge of all the day's meals (it can be quite simple like pastries and fruit). Breakfast is served sometime after 8:00 am and should be completely cleaned up by 9:00 am.
Service projects happen between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon.
Lunch is at noon. Usually, a group designates a few persons to prepare the meals and serve them (as their service project). Projects resume in the afternoon from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. If a project is finished early, groups are usually asked to play with the children outside, or walk them down to the park (3 blocks away).
Dinner is at 5:30.
Saturday night we like to do something special. If your group has a member who is musically inclined, you may want to lead a praise and worship session. We have worship binders of Christian songs that we try to use regularly enough that many residents will know some of the songs.
Residents also enjoy movie nights. We've had groups bring projectors and show movies outdoors with popcorn. Some groups break out board games, or play basketball with our resident kids.
We do ask that if kids are around, that they are invited to join in the fun!
If your group is staying for Sunday Morning, you might want to lead a worship service and or present a message for our residents. You are free to set up the service any way you like. If you would rather, you can attend church with the residents at the church the Lodge Supervisor normally offers transportation to. Pack up, debrief with staff, head home!
Do not bring valuables. We rarely have instances of thievery, but it does happen occasionally. We cannot be responsible for lost or stolen items. \If you bring anything valuable, tell the staff, and they can protect if for you by keeping it in the Lodge office (phones, wallets, purses, etc.)
Have a buddy system. Especially after dark, have members of the group who are not adults traverse between buildings with a partner, just to be extra safe. We have never had any problems, but we also hope to never have one.
If you want to hang out outside after dark, stick to the lighted areas (back patio or basketball court), and have a group of people with you, including adult(s).