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Class  End Reports

Faith & Finances

Class End Report

Facilitator: Joe Toombs

A Faith & Finances class was conducted at the TREC facility, Eastgate Mall. Run by the State of Tennessee, it is geared toward those who have been incarcerated and attendance is required. However, since Faith & Finances is a Faith-based class, the participants are not required to attend but can do so by choice.

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The classes began in the Spring of 2023 and ended in June of 2023. We met every week on Tuesday and Thursday for one hour. Because the curriculum was based on 90 minutes, adjustments were made for the shorter time-period. The classes lasted for 6 weeks (12 classes total).

 

The participants were given handouts for budgeting. They were also encouraged to keep a running total of expenses. The average turnout of participants was about 4 people. The numbers varied weekly.  

 

My thoughts on the classes are as follows: Participants were sporadic in their attendance making it hard to have consistency. When the participants were not in attendance, we had to review past lessons. When we did meet, the classes went well, and participation was good.

 

In the future, the thoughts are that the classes should be taught once a week and continue for 12 weeks, creating better consistency from the students.

Faith & Finances

Class End Report
Facilitator: Don Hopkins

The successes and failures of Faith & Finances Classes are difficult to quantify because the state in which individuals access these classes varies widely. Case in point, one class may serve to drive candidates from shelters, rehabs, and regular homes. The information is valuable in any circumstance, but the application may vary greatly.

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The seeds planted may require years of growth before they bloom into use. A budget for someone unemployed and not on disability may be a tool only useful for distant future use.

One of our students, “KM”, was living in a shelter and now has her own apartment and vehicle. She is maintaining but has not grown to a true security as her income is not such that she can prepare for emergencies yet.

Another student, ”DC”, became an Ally for future classes and maintained a job and lifestyle that allowed her to grow and be productive. She had a positive effect on both the instructors and students with a quiet solidity that spoke volumes.

One of our recent graduates, “HG”, is currently transitioning from a nice trailer to a house that will better accommodate her part time business and, her full-time work-from-home employment. She is an example of desire harnessed into a plan and finding the discipline to carry out the plan,

Limited successes have seen job promotion in several graduates. One becoming the head of her department and another becoming a successful plumber, bringing his father-in-law into the business as well.

 

My prayer is that the concepts, the relationship with Jesus, and the grace that brings hope will remain with them as effective tools, brought to bear at the appropriate time.

Class Testimony: Nelson Mackey

Over the years, I have seen the positive impact that these classes and the teacher, Don Hopkins, have had on people's lives. The encouraging thing about the way Don teaches is amazing. He teaches in a way that is effective in empowering individuals to make positive changes. The emphasis on grace, freedom, and the opportunity to make mistakes. These allowed for personal growth and resilience.

 

Don's authenticity and willingness to share his own journey likely made him relatable and inspiring to his students. When I first saw Don, he didn't strike me as a teacher. I thought I would be bored and I wondered why I was even there.  However, as I sat in the class, I could tell he was teaching from the heart. He kept it simple and straight to the point, but he did it in such a way that kept your attention and made you want to hear more. 

The thing about Don is, he isn't just talk. He walks the talk as well. He lives his life in such a way that shows grace, love and encouragement to those around him. As he teaches, you can tell he is led by the Holy Spirit.

 

Don is truly a gifted teacher. The fact that participants kept coming back and were motivated to continue even after facing setbacks shows the value of the teaching methods and the support provided. It's evident that Don Hopkins genuinely cares about the well-being of his students and is dedicated to helping them improve their lives. Taking in a young man and mentoring him further exemplifies his commitment to making a difference in the lives of others . . . He not only imparts knowledge but also inspires and guides others to become better versions of themselves.

Class End Report

Facilitator: Dutch Fayard

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I found the experience very informative and valuable. The class started small and finished with just 2 participants. Below are some of my reflections . . .

·          I was very happy with the curriculum

·         The curriculum offers solid financial guidance

·         The curriculum offers a solid underlying aspect of faith

             associated with the finances

·         The lessons are presented in an effective order and   

              with good continuity between lessons.

·         Good design to incorporate class participation

 

With regards to the class this semester, it was a bit tumultuous.  . . .low turnout despite advertising for several months. I learned that location matters!

Ally attendance and participation were fantastic and a highlight of my experience!

The mealtime fellowship is a valuable component of the class. I am thankful to Silverdale for their support in scheduling and providing the meals.

Faith & Finances

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