Local I.C. discusses additional paths in life

By COLBY DENTON
Posted 9/3/18

A recent gathering of the Bradley County Interagency Council featured two speakers from different organizations, On Point and Foundation House Ministries, speaking on the importance of offering …

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Local I.C. discusses additional paths in life

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A recent gathering of the Bradley County Interagency Council featured two speakers from different organizations, On Point and Foundation House Ministries, speaking on the importance of offering additional paths in life.

On Point is a youth development organization partnering with schools and communities to cultivate the strengths in youth, and guide them in positive ways on their path to thrive. It is based in Chattanooga, but has a Cleveland branch with Tony Lombard as Cleveland Life Facilitator.

“On Point was founded by a young woman who asked why no one could pre-emptively get in front of these community issues and prevent them – instead of just responding to them after the fact,” Lombard said.

This young woman went on to found the first vestiges of On Point, which was initially an abstinence program called WhyKnow.

There are currently four different facets of the organization’s dichotomy, including: Think On Point; Life On Point; Graduate On Point; and Teen Advisory Board.

Lombard said most people don’t realize how abstinence issues cluster together with other problems such as drug abuse. This is why various programs were created at On Point in order to address all these issues, and prevent students from falling through the cracks.

“Kids growing up surrounded by all these issues feel like they have no hope. If these young people can find some hope, it can change their lives,” Lombard continued. “We want to break the cycle. It doesn’t always have to be what they’ve always known.”

As Lombard is over the Life On Point program, he describes himself as a storyteller who wants Cleveland and Bradley County to understand what these young people go through, and cultivate strengths in them by increasing healthy choices, positive support and life vision.

He then relayed several tales of students whose lives were positively impacted through On Point. Unfortunately, some students’ stories don’t always have happy endings; however, through their personal battles, most students specifically named On Point as a beacon of hope in their struggles.

“I could quote you stat after stat of our victories, but stories matter more than statistics,” he added. “We help these kids out the best we can.”

Students who serve on On Point’s Teen Advisory Board are specifically nominated for their positions by teachers, and serve as the voice of the organization while displaying leadership through service. Upon graduating, these teen leaders can nominate someone they believe embodies the traits desired for future teen board members and can then pass on the torch for the next generation of leaders.

On Point has an upcoming event called the Inspire Ladies Luncheon taking place on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 11:30 a.m. at First Baptist Cleveland and featuring Bonnie Hathcock as inspirational guest speaker. Tables can be purchased in groups of eight along with individual tickets at liveonpoint.org or by calling 423-899-9188. Lombard said he "and the ladies of the luncheon hope to see you there."

Shawna Staup with AmeriCorps VISTA then explained the community impact Foundation House Ministries has on Cleveland and Bradley County.

A faith-based ministry, Foundation House serves to aid struggling families in becoming effective, stable parents.

“This works a lot of different ways with our programming. The major method is through our maternity home, which is for women who are at risk for homelessness who are pregnant, or looking to be reunited with a child they already have,” Staup said. “We work with them giving them job training, financial literacy classes and just helping them along the way.”

Non-residential daily classes are a very popular aspect of Foundation House. These are for male or female parents and focus on coping skills, job-readiness, conflict resolution, healthy relationships, communication, etc. Several other services include paid services, such as family empowerment workshops and court-ordered family support.

As nearly half of all births in the U.S. are to unmarried women, the organization seeks to stabilize and aid them if needed. As a testament to this, Staup said there were 70 women aided overall last year through the program.

In addition to its normal services, Foundation House is launching a new business called Healing Springs Gifts. The business will feature personal skin care products made by the women at Foundation House.

“We are working with an incredible woman whose husband had severe skin sensitivities, and over the past couple of years, she’s dedicated herself to making oil sprays, lotions and body butters that won’t irritate his skin. Now, she’s teaching the ladies at Foundation House how to make them,” Staup added.

Citing the developing job skills taught through Healing Springs Gifts, Staup says many of their ladies have never had jobs before, and will learn basic skills needed to find jobs on their own, once they’re ready.

An open house is planned for Healing Springs Gifts on Sept. 30 from 2-4 p.m. at Foundation House Ministries, located at 258 Broad Street, which is above Gardner’s Market. Foundation House can be contacted at 423-464-5351, or via its website at www.foundationhouseministries.org

On Point can be contacted at its Cleveland branch at 423-458-2022 or via its website, www.liveonpoint.org

The next meeting of the Bradley County Interagency Council will be Sept. 17 at Cleveland State.


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