By JoAnna Ness, Aug 28 2020 04:48PM
Shannon Thomas, Executive Director of Turning Point, shared that the mission of Turning Point is to supply housing to men, women, and children, and help them “to get back on their feet, spiritually, mentally, and financially.” In describing the realities Turning Point residents must overcome, Shannon noted, “we’re providing more than just a bed.” Turning Point comes alongside people and guides them through programs created to help them learn self-sufficiency. Some of the programming provided by Turning Point includes classes on nutrition, parenting, anger management, bible studies, and their most recent addition, courses to prepare for the Indiana High School Equivalency Test. They also offer classes on budgeting thanks to Flagstar Bank, and they partner with KeyBank to provide their residents with bank accounts.
The latest success story of Turning Point was shared most recently in the local paper, as they hired two new staff members who were both graduates of the program. These staff members will be able to use their experiences to give back to and improve Turning Point for the future. Turning Point has grown tremendously in the last 10 years from an organization that provided a few days of housing for around 70 residents per year, to an organization that provides housing and programming for an average of 5-6 months for approximately 190 residents per year. Turning Point is a unique organization, because unlike many other homeless shelters, they house a Family Wing where couples and families can remain together.
Turning Point works closely with Women in Transition, TLC House, and Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry to name few nonprofits, as they bring together a community to support their residents where they need help most. Thanks to generous donations, Turning Point is able to provide graduates of their programs with furniture and basic furnishings when they complete the program. Shannon shared she loves to see graduates excited for their new home, and to watch residents rebuild their self-esteem as they move through the program. She shared it is encouraging to see graduates from Turning Point doing well in the community and to hear from them about their successes. Turning Point will soon hold a Handprint Ceremony where they will invite graduates of the program to place their handprints on a wall in the Turning Point facility. This ceremony will serve as a physical reminder of the successes of their graduates for current residents.
Turning Point recently received a matching grant opportunity from the Steuben County Community Foundation’s Disaster Response Fund. Shannon shared that without Turning Point’s board and a community’s worth of support, she would not be able to do what she loves, and Turning Point would be unable to provide its vital programs to Steuben County.