The Fall 2017 Mercy University Graduation for Faith & Finance and Work Life students was a great success Wednesday night, October 11th! With 58 people in attendance, joining us in the special event room of Hardware Pizza in Lyons, we were able to show our graduates how incredibly proud we are of them for taking the steps necessary to manage their finances, find jobs, and break the culture of poverty in our community.
Gwynn Colvin (left), a licensed professional counselor who works with the Paul Anderson Youth Home (PAYH), who also sits on the board of The Mercy Ministries, opened up the ceremony with a prayer. She's especially grateful this season for the boys of the PAYH who graduated from the Faith & Finance class this semester!
How do we break the cycle of poverty in a community?
Carly Benton (right), Mercy's Executive Director, shared testimonies of how
she and her husband, Pastor Bradley Benton of Connection Church (Dublin campus), are currently taking finance classes themselves, and in the past have felt led by God to give to their community at times, and how that community has given back to them in their own times of need.
"It's not doctrinal to teach that God gives you something back every single time He asks you to give something away, however, we have experienced the more we give, the more we're given in return. Our needs have always been met! Being there for each other is how we change the community around us!"
The Mercy Ministris has an ultimate goal of wiping out the poverty mindset in and around Toombs county. It begins with educating people on how money itself isn't "evil." Knowing how to manage it, and how to better yourself so you can give back to your family and others in the community, makes it a blessing.
"Enabling others to not only take care of themselves, but give back to our amazing community, is what we're all about," Clint Hutcheson, Mercy University Director, has said in a recent 60 MINUTES WITH MERCY TOUR. "When you see how these classes are not only impacting the individual, but changing the lives of their children and grandchildren ... well ... it makes everything we do here at Mercy worth it," He continued as he wiped tears from his eyes.
Money and job hunting are two things that shouldn't be stressing us out. However, they're both maybe the major cause of stress in most people's lives.
Knowledge is power. By being educated on how to get a job, keep a job, and manage money once it comes in, is vital to hundreds, maybe thousands of people in Toombs county alone, who have never been taught any of those skills.
One graduate, Derek Heath, already had an important job interview lined up for Thursday,
the day after graduation, and another, Gail Barwick, had job options lined up, as well.
Barwick shared how she had always been a hard worker as a housekeeper, but she wanted to find a more stable job with benefits. Not knowing quite how to navigate that world, she enrolled in the classes thinking, "I'm not going to learn anything here. I already know everything there is to know about work and money. I've worked all my life. But, after I went to that first class I got in my car that night and just cried. Mercy, these classes, Mr. Clint ... have changed my life. I will always be here for Mercy. Whatever they need. Donations ... whatever ... I'll be there."
One of the best stories of the night came from a beautiful, 30-year-old single mother of three young children, Rachel Clements, who had been divorced just last year. She said she would have such anxiety over money she would cry every time she had to go to the mailbox. "There must be a better way to do life than this!" she thought. She enrolled in Mercy's Faith & Finance class and now she has an emergency fund and feels like she has a handle on her finances and said (paraphrased), "I can finally breathe!
The Mercy Ministries loves to see people moving forward, taking care of their families, and impacting the world around them. We'd like to thank all of you who made these classes possible.
Whether you provided meals for the Faith & Finance students, mentored them through their classes as a Mercy Ally, or *helped to fund the venue and food for the graduation ceremony ... we just can't thank you enough. Lives were changed this year, and supporters like YOU made it possible!
If you'd like to find out more about how you can help Mercy University when their January 2018 classes begin, contact:
Clint Hutcheson or Jessica Thursby, Monday - Thursday, 912-524-4000
Graduation Cake provided by Melissa Hall of Cookie Boss Bakery of Lyons, Ga.
Food and Venue provided by Hardware Pizza of Lyons, Ga.