HERO offers one core service, a goal-setting training program. We have, however, taken this core service and tailored it to suit the needs of various subpopulations of our larger target population (homeless/at-risk). For example, when we teach ex-offenders goal setting, the course is 12.5 hours and is geared towards employment. Our Project WAIT (Work Alternatives for Individuals in their 3rd Trimester) is equivalent to a part time job for pregnant women receiving state aid. They learn goal setting as well as office skills and quilting. Our newest initiative is called CAST (Court Appointed Success Tracks) and in this pilot project, persons seen before judges and/or probation/parole officers will be ordered to take our class. They will create and follow through with a personal plan to address both the legal charges and the contributing obstacles in their lives.

Description of our programs and services

  • "Hold On" - a 2.5 hour workshop delivered once every other week at Michigan Works: Work First. Teaches the fundamentals of goal setting to people in a welfare-to-work setting.
  • Pathfinder Workshop - a 4.0 hour workshop delivered once a month to homeless/at risk individuals per referral from other agencies. Teaches goal-setting and allows ample time for participants to create a 3-4 page plan of action covering one life area (employment, housing, education, etc.)
  • C.A.S.T. - Court Appointed Success Tracks - a 4.0 hour workshop delivered twice a month to individuals per referral from 15th District Court or Probation . Teaches goal-setting and allows ample time for participants to create a 3-4 page plan of action covering how they will address the offense with which they were charged as well as the personal circumstances which led to the charges. Case management offered to clients to help them connect with the resources needed to complete their personal action plans.
  • T.O.O.L.S. (Turning Obstacles into Opportunities for Lifelong Success)- a 12.5 hour curriculum designed to be part of the collaborative program called CEO (Coordinated Employment Options). The overall project helps ex offenders to obtain and retain immediate employment while addressing their longer-term vision for successful employment/careers. The TOOLS program addresses goal setting, empowerment, budgeting and interview/evaluation preparation.
  • Empowering High School Students - this is a new initiative starting fall semester at the U of M. In this program, students who enroll in a Sociology class will be given the opportunity to learn how to teach the HERO "Hold On" workshop. They will learn about homelessness and empowerment issues as well. Then they will go to area high schools and teach the workshop once a week to the students at those schools. Each week they will have a different group of students.
  • Project W.A.I.T. - (Work Alternatives for Individuals in their 3rd Trimester) this program is an alternative placement for pregnant women who must participate in a welfare to work program in order to get their FIA checks. At 6 months of pregnancy, it seems futile to ask these women to attend employment workshops or to go out on interviews. In our program they volunteer for 5 hours a day and receive employment-related training and skills. They attend our Pathfinder class and create a personal action plan. 2 days/wk we help them with their plan. 3 days a week they do HERO work. They also learn how to sew and make a baby quilt for themselves as well as one quilt square donated to HERO. We are hoping to create a book about their accomplishments, with one chapter dedicated to each of the participants. Their individual quilt squares will be joined to form one queen sized quilt. It will be featured in the book as well as possibly being offered for sale at auction.
  • UHERO - This is a group of U of M students who have formed an on campus group. Their mission is to educate campus students about the issues of homelessness and to offer support to the HERO agency.
  • Clothing Distribution Program - this program is in its infancy. Through its execution, we will be able to hand out business-appropriate attire, winter outerwear, maternity clothes, infant wear, and formal attire for disadvantaged youth.
  • Food Bank - a food distribution program for the clients of HERO.