Steve L Kessler

New Beginnings Program

20947 Great Mills Rd.

Lexington Park MD 20653

Welcome to the New Beginnings Program

New Beginnings is The Mission’s core intervention program providing guidance, resources, and opportunities to those on the street who earnestly desire to change their lives and move toward independence.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to all our efforts and is the basis of the hope we share with our program participants.  

The Steve L. Kessler Center

Program Entry Criteria

Participation in the program is voluntary and open to adult single men and women living in St. Mary’s County who are of sound mind and healthy enough to complete the program. Applicants are thoroughly screened prior to acceptance using the following criteria: 

  1. Be drug- and alcohol-free upon acceptance into the program or be willing to participate in an in-patient addiction recovery program as the initial step in joining the program. 
  2. Never have been convicted of a sex offense.
  3. Pass an interview and candidate assessment.
  4. Pass a background check.
  5. Follow the Rules and Guidelines defined in the New Beginnings Handbook.
  6. Follow an individually designed course of education, mentorship and responsibilities.
  7. Attend Chapel Services. 

To ask about joining the program, contact The Mission Intake Director Program Entry Coordinator, Jean Harmon, at 240-718-8911 or jean@seekingshelter.com 

What Participants Can Expect

Once an applicant is approved, he or she is provided meals and a safe place to live as well as educational and spiritual resources as the foundation of their journey to new lives. Each participant’s plan varies according to individual needs. All plans include a variety of social services, participation in vocational training, strengthening of social skills, and job search efforts which reinforce growing personal responsibility as the individuals progress through the program. 

Fees

New Beginnings is supported by many St. Mary’s County residents and churches that believe people’s lives are best changed through Christian mentorship. We also encourage active involvement of volunteers to add a rich sense of community to our program.  We find that it is rewarding for the volunteers and accelerates the progress of our participants.  To become a volunteer, please click the Volunteer link located on our website and fill out the application for “Mission staff.”  Because of the community’s generosity and support, no program fee is charged if an individual entering the program is unemployed or has no other income. However, as an individual progresses through the program and finds employment, a small program fee is assessed every month as part of the fiscal management education curriculum. The fee is based on the individual’s income level and does not exceed $250 per month. 

The Daily Pace

New Beginnings is an engaging, active, daily curriculum with the following schedule: 

  1. Wake up is at 6:30 a.m.  
  2. Community Breakfast is at 7:15 a.m.
  3. Transport to the Robert E. Myers Center is around 7:45 a.m.
  4. Morning devotionals in the Myers Center Chapel start at 8 a.m. 
  5. Participants leave for work, take classes or participate in vocational studies from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with breaks throughout the day.
  6. Lunch is served at 11 a.m. for those who stay at the Robert E. Myers Center. 
  7. Dinner for all is served from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by evening devotionals or Bible study till 7:30 p.m.
  8. Transport to the Steve L. Kessler Center is around 7:30 p.m.
  9. Personal, laundry, social and free time run from 8 to 10:30 p.m.
  10. Prayers and lights out are at 10:30 p.m.

NOTE: This example day is currently adjusted as the Robert E. Myers Center is completing its renovation, with an estimated opening day in late summer or early fall of 2022.  

 

Removal or Disqualification

From time to time, individuals may leave the program voluntarily.  For those cases, re-enrollment is deferred for one year after leaving.  Participants may be removed from the program if they do not follow the guidelines set out in the program handbook or do not adhere to their individual education plan or responsibilities. That said, we serve a God of second chances.  As a result, our program leaders show as much grace as possible. Participants are removed only after several counseling sessions and personal coaching. Our goal is for everyone to succeed. We understand that there will be bumps in the road at times as part of the journey. 

Success

Those who successfully complete the New Beginnings Program will have demonstrated addiction-free lifestyle choices, hold steady employment, exercise proper fiscal management, and possess the ability to live independently in suitable housing as ambassadors of Christ.