Why Community First?

by | Sep 23, 2023 | #Men, Community, Meetings, Men's Community Group

Why Community First?

by | Sep 23, 2023 | #Men, Community, Meetings, Men's Community Group

 Written by Austin Shook, Director of Men’s Programs

The launch of The Magdalen House’s Men’s Program is a very exciting time for the Dallas – Ft. Worth community. The Women’s Program has been a staple since 1987, the year after I was born, which makes me feel old and like a young man at the same time! From the First Step two week residential program, the Next Step 12-week program, to the Community program featuring meetings and workshops, and events 365 days a year open to ALL, it’s impossible to go anywhere in Dallas without meeting someone who’s life or who’s loved one’s life has been transformed by what’s offered at Maggie’s!

For everyone who’s as excited as I am about an identical and separate Men’s Program being announced, you may be asking yourself like I was, “why are we doing the Community Program for men first?”

“For everyone who’s as excited as I am about an identical and separate Men’s Program being announced, you may be asking yourself like I was, ‘Why are we doing the Community Program for men first?’”

The Magdalen House has a volunteerprogram like nothing I have ever seen. In 2022 alone, they had 538 individual volunteers (with many of them returning more than once, often weekly) who put in over 24,653 volunteer hours. Without such dedication and support, it would be impossible to provide such an amazing program at no cost. It’s safe to say, our Men’s Program has some big shoes to fill.

“Without such dedication and support, it would be impossible to provide such an amazing program at no cost.”

Since July of 2023, we have offered the Men’s Community and Volunteer program. I have personally witnessed men from our community, some with as little as 3 days, 4 months, or 10 months sober, to recovered men, some sober since 1994, attend or chair our recovery meetings, and participate in group projects to get our Men’s Community space on the lower floor of Grace United Methodist on Junius up and running. Can you imagine if we had started with First Step?

Of course, opening the First Step program is the first thing on everyone’s mind. There are so many sick and suffering alcoholic men in our city, and the sheer mention of The Magdalen House Men’s Program has had people from far and wide calling for help. We have always provided those men calling in with a list of resources, and now we can tell them about our Community program. We can’t wait to help those that qualify get into our no-cost First Step program, but we must be prepared as an agency to take this on.

“We can’t wait to help those that qualify get into our no-cost First Step program, but we must be prepared as an agency to take this on.”

When that first man walks into our First Step program for men, we have to have the same intensive infrastructure in place that we’ve always had for women. That means community assistant volunteers, overnight volunteers, and meeting chairs for over 26 meetings, workshops, and events EVERY week! What we are doing right now in the men’s community program is vetting and training our highly coveted meeting chairs, onboarding and orienting our volunteers, and creating our soon to open First Step program to our exact program needs and specifications. We have a lot of fund-raising to do this year, and we are currently interviewing and hiring Men’s coordinator staff who will be essential to our First Step and Next Step launch.

“When that first man walks into our First Step program for men, we have to have the same intensive infrastructure in place that we’ve always had for women. That means community assistant volunteers, overnight volunteers, and meeting chairs for over 26 meetings, workshops, and events EVERY week!”

There is an up-to-date meetings schedule forour men’s meetingsand we will be launching the 12-week Next Step program this fall. Patience does not come naturally to me, but neither does sobriety! But God has done for me what I cannot do for myself, and I know without a doubt that God is in control of this ever important mission we are embarked on. No one wants First Step to be up and running for men more than I do but, logically, it’s Community first so that we can offer the same level of care to men as we currently do for the women.

“No one wants First Step to be up and running for men more than I do but, logically, it’s Community first so that we can offer the same level of care to men as we currently do for the women.”