Donation Match

A Match – Every dollar will be doubled

This season means we use lots of matches (or the fancy fire starters – but let’s say matches, ok?) Lighting candles. In all this snow (wow!), perhaps enjoying a fire in the fireplace. (In between shoveling and snow blowing ☺ ) ‘Tis the season, right?

But there are matches, and there are MATCHES.

70×7 Muskegon has some visionary donors who have put together a financial match for 2017 donations and commitments for 2018: $100,000. They have seen the impact that these prisoner reentry and recovery programs have had in Muskegon in less than 2 years of operation.

Muskegon County has ‘returning prisoner’ and substance abuse rates that underscore how much our neighbors and community need compassionate, strategic, accountable help. Realistic Help. Long Term Help.

There is no support for 70×7 Muskegon that doesn’t directly or indirectly affect every participant, every potential participant. Our staff and volunteers are passionate about Muskegon County’s needs, and share the vision that we CAN reduce recidivism and substance abuse here. Bottom line: It’s about people. And every one matters.

Will you help? Every dollar will be doubled.

We’ve had large donations that make the big stuff happen. And then we have had $5 sent by a prisoner – truly a sacrificial donation saved from meager prison earnings – one that made me cry …don’t know about the rest of you!

2018 is a God-Sized Opportunity for this work. Donating Online is an easy and secure way to make your year-end investment in Muskegon.

Will you do it?

What’s Happening at 70×7 Muskegon – Fresh Coast Reentry

Former felons rehabilitate in special program with police that put them in jail

Convicted felons are coming face-to-face with the police officers who arrested them at a special support group called CLEAR.

The C.L.E.A.R. (Coalition.Leadership.Education.Accountability.Rehabilitation) group is a voluntary program consisting of police, MDOC employees, and returning citizens to figure out what’s next in life beyond bars. The meetings are held at 70×7 Muskegon years after their time is served.

“With a lot of us returning home, part of the reason we went to prison is because we have authority problems,” said Nate Johnson, Reentry director at 70×7 Muskegon.

Read Full Article and See Video

Muskegon: Watch Us Grow …Second Chances

70×7 MUSKEGON’s training and accountability programs uniquely do that in Muskegon. This is the 15th employment and life skills training graduating class.

Thanks to the initiative of our Prison Fellowship [] friends: The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring April 2017 as “Second Chance Month“.

The resolution states that Congress “honors the work of communities, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, congregations, employers, and individuals to remove unnecessary legal and societal barriers that prevent an individual with a criminal record from becoming a productive member of society.”

Second Chances are working in Muskegon.

Community work to remove barriers to reengaging in life and community sounds wonderful. But it takes highly intentional work to accomplish that good goal – work that has high value for participants.

We have a new class and curriculum name: R.E.N.E.W. That is what we do.

  • Restore. Start with the viewpoint that every individual is created in the image of God and can be restored. Everyone deserves a second chance.
  • Equip. Provide the materials, the guidance, the leadership, and the practical training to give someone in the reentry and/or recovery process what they need to succeed.
  • Navigate. Intentionally grow your partners and colleagues who work together as the network to address the basic and oftentimes unique needs to reengage in life and community. The R.E.N.E.W. materials are a collaborative effort with our friends at Love INC here in Muskegon. Partnerships leverage good ideas and work.
  • Empower. Coach each participant to see himself/herself from God’s perspective, worthy of a life lived in wholeness, health, and financial self-sufficiency.
  • Work. Work gives dignity. Partner with organizations and employers willing to see 70×7 MUSKEGON participants as individuals with unique skills and gifts, with contributions to make to Muskegon businesses.

It was my privilege to talk with a 70×7 grad just yesterday. Eddie told me: “I’m doing better than I’ve ever done in my whole life because of 70×7. I mean that.”

70×7 MUSKEGON: Growing second chances so that they are part of the Muskegon work to build a better place for all of us.

Victories Against Great Odds – Wisdom for Muskegon

WoodsonVaried experts with years of experience and “earned” insights have comments featured in the Winter 2017 journal Philanthropy, a publication of Philanthropy Roundtable. Solutions to serious social problems aren’t just in innovative programming. The following are insights of Robert Woodson, founder of the Woodson Center.

We think this is wisdom for Muskegon and we are greatly encouraged that Bob underscores the core values of 70×7 Muskegon that are the tools for transformation.

….The brave philanthropists and committed community activists who risked all to wage campaigns to eliminate slavery and devastating alcohol addiction took it upon themselves to attack huge, widespread, and deeply rooted ethical problems. It was against seemingly insurmountable odds that they pursued their vision and prevailed.

In my work over four decades with neighborhood leaders ministering to seemingly hopeless individuals, I have witnessed similar victories against great odds. It’s true that the poverty and social problems that stem from bad choices like substance abuse and criminal behavior are deeply rooted. No amount of income distribution, safety nets, or government programs will be a sustainable difference in the status of people ensnared in these behaviors. To reclaim their lives they need new vision, character qualities, and values.

That kind of internal transformation is possible, but it can only be engendered by community-based (often faith-inspired) personal relationships. The good news is that hundreds of committed, indigenous neighborhood leaders are providing this kind of life-transforming outreach. Once grassroots leaders have sparked an internal conversion, even men and women who had virtually lost their lives can emerge as responsible employees, spouses, and parents.

To fully harness the power of transformative neighborhood healers requires that we recognize and support a new brand of “experts”—operating in civil society rather than government agencies or the ranks of certified professionals. America is ripe for revitalization of values. But this must be led by mentors and healers who personally understand the problems they address and have a stake in their solutions.

Thanksgiving Overflowing!

The donors, staff, volunteers, prayer warriors, and community supporters are why 70×7 Life Recovery Muskegon will celebrate a Great Thanksgiving. Thank you!!! In less than 9 months, people like Nate Johnson have made second chances, third chances and more Reality for prisoners returning to Muskegon.

Their HOPE is real. Their futures have promise.

I’m a Living Testimony to Don’t Give Up

“My focus and my life story are about giving hope,” says Nate Johnson, who spent 12 years in a Michigan prison. He is one of the speakers for The Truth event on Thursday, Oct. 13 in Muskegon.

Nate Johnson started to turn his life around years ago as a young adult confined inside the rather mundane walls inside a Michigan prison.

This week, the man now in his mid-30s will be giving a speech inside the historic and majestic walls of the Frauenthal Center in hopes of helping others who may be facing some personal challenges of their own.

Nov 3 – Annual Banquet – Answering the Call

“Answering the Call” – 70×7 Muskegon Annual Banquet

Thursday, November 3, 2016, (5:30 pm Reception, 6:00 pm Dinner)
The Event Center | Fricano Place
Join 70×7 Muskegon: Christ Centered, Job Anchored Prisoner Re-Entry in Muskegon, MI. “Answering the Call” to be a community of second chances… one story, one relationship, one day at a time.

Learn More

Oct 13 – The Truth – Honesty About Life

What: The Truth – Honesty About Life
When: Thursday at 7 PM – 9:30 PM
Where: Frauenthal Center, 425 W Western Ave Ste 200, Muskegon, Michigan 49440
Presented By Mercy Health

Join Andy O’Riley, Nate Johnson and National Best Selling Author Anny Donewald for an open an honest discussion about addiction, crime and human trafficking. All three have been to the bottom and now, work to help others come out of, or avoid the failures they went through. This event will be free to the community. Sponsorship is welcome to help the costs of the theater and any proceeds will go to 70×7 and Eve’s Angles. The event is sponsored by Mercy Health.

Ex-cons vs. law enforcement: An unlikely match up on the court

Two teams, one unlikely connection.

Ex-convicts and law enforcement faced off on the basketball court Saturday night at Reeths Puffer High School, but in place of animosity was a mutual respect for men turning their lives around and for those doing their jobs to help them.

See MLive Article

Mentors are the friends who walk alongside returning prisoners

Mentoring and solid work readiness training equip successful transition from prison to the workplace and community.

Mentors are the friends who walk alongside returning prisoners transitioning to work and community. Mentors are a critical part of 70×7 Life Recovery. The mentor relationships matter greatly in a returning prisoner’s moving to the life God intended for him or her to have.

70×7’s Work Readiness uses the Jobs4Life training. As one of the recent graduates said:

“The work is tough, but it builds real job skills.”

If you’d like to find out more about mentoring, CONTACT Joe Whalen, (231) 740-9566.

And look for the 70×7 Muskegon Spring 2016 Report in your mail or email. Meet Tony. Subscribe to the blog to be included.