More about our Program
Mission agencies are often asked how contributions are used for programs vs. administration and/or fundraising. That is not as easily answered for Killingsworth as it is for some ministries which have distinct, identifiable programs. Some ministries can pinpoint different programs like after-school care or teenage pregnancy prevention, or a soup kitchen. In these programs, participants interact with the agency for a certain amount of time per week, or per month. After that, participants return to homes which may or may not be healthy physically, emotionally or spiritually.
If any one of these programs were terminated, the mission agency itself would be intact, but would operate fewer or different programs. Staff members may be assigned to other programs, or they may be let go. Each program usually has its own budget. Killingsworth is quite different.
We are a family of sorts in a missional environment. Another way to look at it is that we do not “do” programs which are subject to startups and endings; we are program. Everything that strengthens our ministry contributes to our being a successful program.
Women who come to live at Killingsworth have been in crisis situations. When they move in they find an environment which many of them have never experienced or have not known for a long time. We offer a peaceful, safe, loving, but truth-telling, and disciplined situation where residents begin the long hard journey of working with God to become the wholesome adults they are called to be. It rarely happens quickly, or by appointment.
Our residents work one day at a time — sometimes one hour at a time — to stay clean, stay out of trouble, and learn various life-skills to care for themselves and others as grown-ups. They come from prisons, from alcohol and drug treatment facilities, from psychiatric hospitals, from abusive even violent homes, from the streets, from homelessness and hopelessness. At Killingsworth our residents live 24 hours a day, seven days a week with people who not only love them, but tell them the truth in love, discipline them, encourage them, support them, teach them and advocate for them.
We offer a home with trained, experienced staff who provide the adult nurturing relationships that call our residents to adult behavior; and we offer opportunities for personal and spiritual growth . . . that is our program. We have over 40 years of experience to testify that when residents slow down, listen, and allow God to work in their lives, dramatic change and growth can take place.
So – what is program and what is overhead/administration in a home? What if the old water heater needs replacing? Is providing hot water to bathe and wash uniforms for work considered program or overhead? If electricity is used to cook their food, or iron their uniforms is that electric bill an administrative cost? And staff salaries and associated costs — how to categorize those? Yes, some of those costs cover answering the phone, writing letters, designing brochures, attending meetings,etc . . . but it also covers the personal nurturing relationships upon which the success of our ministry depends.
God has provided skilled, faithful, wise women who are not only staff members but who are also role models, mentors, pastors, counselors, prayer partners, big sisters, and sometimes, the mother a resident never had. We encourage residents to live at Killingsworth at least a year because the healthy relationships they have time to form will offer possibility for change. God works incarnationally through our staff, and we feel blessed to be used in this way.
In addition to that, our staff members serve as teachers — we teach budgeting/financial planning, parenting, anger management, self-discipline, recovery skills, responsible citizenship, and preventive health care. The life skills we cannot provide we find through other avenues. We also have a serious work support component provided by our staff because every resident is required to work, be in training or offer service as a volunteer in the community.
Under-girding all of their growth is spiritual development. We don’t want residents to build their emerging lives on sand. Spiritual growth is part of all we do in a pervasive atmosphere of Christian awareness.
All that we do to make Killingsworth a home for women whose lives are broken and unmanageable is Program. For example, keeping residents warm in winter and cool in summer seems a reasonable program expense. Well-rested, well-fed healthy people make better decisions, are better parents, better workers, get promotions, do well in classes they take, and relate to others better.
Donors want to know, and have a right to know, their giving is making a difference in the lives of real people in need. When asked about our programs, we say it’s happening 24 hours a day, every day of the year within the Killingsworth family. Every penny spent is used to keep us open and safe for women who come to Killingsworth yearning for wholeness and holiness.