THE RHYME & REASON MINISTRY STORY
Rhyme & Reason began as a volunteer-run mentorship program for foster youth and has since grown into a full-service agency providing professional behavioral services, direct service support mentors, and social enrichment opportunities for individuals facing developmental, emotional, and social challenges.
R&R provides a comprehensive enrichment program for foster youth and individuals with developmental disabilities. Through trusting relationships, participants come to know their value and purpose and experience the message of love, hope and redemption. The R&R model creates a safe place where participants find healing from their traumatic experiences and discover, build and strengthen their core identities, increasing adaptive behavioral function.
R&R and our agents are committed champions for our clients, their families and caregivers. We are dedicated to improving emotional, behavioral and social function through therapeutic services, meaningful activities, and a healthy connectedness to others. We strive to improve greater independence, personal fulfillment, and overall quality of life.
Many individuals in our community at every age level face daily challenges that affect their quality of life. For some, developmental delays, mental illness and emotional trauma create barriers to their ability to make friends, keep a job, or participate in community life. The result can be on-going frustration, isolation or depression. We can do better to help these boys and girls and men and women who live right next door, yet feel worlds apart. We can do better as a community to create safe places for healing and healthy social connectedness. When we honor the intrinsic value of such individuals and provide opportunities to overcome these barriers to quality of life, we all win. Our communities are stronger when the “weakest” among us are strengthened to become all that God intended for them to be.
The isolating conditions brought on by the pandemic only served to amplify the existing loneliness and lack of outside supports that many in our community face. When workplaces and day centers closed due to coronavirus outbreaks, along with public meeting places such as libraries, recreational facilities and even restaurants, many R&R participants were restricted to home, sometimes alone and without the structure of routine that is so helpful and grounding. Individuals who already had limited access to community life suddenly found themselves even more restricted in movement and feeling alone and often confused.
While R&R behavioral clinicians provided telehealth sessions throughout the lockdown periods and beyond, opportunities for small, safely distanced social gatherings were greatly reduced largely because R&R currently has no public gathering space. During the height of the outbreak, Spring and Summer of 2020, R&R hosted virtual Social Club gatherings. These were eagerly welcomed and many participants logged on to chat and play games. But there are obvious limitations to such virtual gatherings, and the virtual format actually caused greater anxiety for some Club members. Now more than ever, R&R agents and participants longed for a safe place to call our own, to gather for fun, to practice healthy social interaction and build community.
Our dream for the future…A place to play, with space to explore, connect and grow!
R&R is embarking upon an ambitious campaign to provide our community with a unique and inspirational place for all individuals with physical, mental and emotional challenges to gather, participate in a variety of therapeutic activities, and even gain vocational skills. Our vision for the R&R campus includes a serene 82 acre parcel with mature woods, hiking trails, a pond and even small cabins for private retreats.
The Club House will form the heart of agency operations. A variety of meeting spaces will allow for safe gatherings between therapists and clients, small group therapy sessions, and larger group social functions. A fully accessible swimming pool may be used for physical and recreational therapy, and could even be rented out to the community as an additional revenue source.
Hiking trails, including those accessible to wheelchairs, will meander through the mature deciduous woods. Access to nature is so therapeutic on multiple levels and will be available to clients as well as other community members. Small cabins and campfire sites will be tucked into the woods, providing an additional rental opportunity for community members seeking private retreats.
A large event building, styled as a stately barn, will allow for larger gatherings for agency and club functions. This will be an exciting opportunity to serve the community with a gorgeous event venue for weddings and other events. The event center will also provide invaluable opportunities for R&R participants to learn vocational skills like hospitality and catering. The event center will overlook a peaceful pond and gazebo; additional spots for enjoying the restful and rejuvenating setting.
A workshop and garage is also envisioned, allowing for additional hands-on learning opportunities for participants, such as woodworking or auto repair. A small barn and paddock will house animals like donkeys, goats, and chickens. Caring for animals is a proven calming activity, which can settle emotions and focus the mind. Animals can be integrated into many types of therapy techniques.
The R&R Campus has the potential to serve thousands of families in Northern Indiana with countless opportunities for healing therapy, social growth, enjoyment and skill building. We have the opportunity to build a legacy that will positively impact generations of community members, particularly those who desperately need a helping hand in realizing their potential.
THE CALL TO ACTION
We need you! Rhyme & Reason is growing to better meet the needs of people we serve. We invite you to partner with us and to be a part of the life changing work of Rhyme & Reason. Together we will bring hope to individuals who are often lonely, isolated and under-served. Together we are helping them make sense of their lives and find their purpose. R&R seeks volunteer and financial support to grow our ministry in serving these individuals and their families. We seek a place with room to play, explore, connect and grow.
Help us spread the word and connect with other community leaders like you who have a heart for those with special needs and challenges. We invite you to thoughtfully consider how you can be a legacy builder and make the Rhyme & Reason Campus a reality.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:1