By Eugene Gomes and Jenny DiTomasso
Jericho Place, a ministry of the Artic Mission is located at 1227 Main St. in West Warwick, spanning the entire lower level. It is the veritable HEART of the creative program for humanitarian cultivation.
It has two major motivating attributes. The first is a points and rewards system, used to initiate and stimulate positive progressive steps for helpful and productive character development, while meeting the current physical needs of clients. The second part is a business oriented long term, 10-year goal referred to as a “BHAG” (Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal), introduced from Charles Nault’s philosophy as executive director of the Artic Mission.
The Artic Mission is a comprehensive project, with spiritual and humanitarian initiatives to ground people in a helpful and productive atmosphere. It has managed to incorporate various mentoring, educational, religious and skill developing programs into a fundamental organizational atmosphere. In addition the mission is host to a very successful and comfortable entertainment coffeehouse.
The “Upper Room,” located at 1221 Main St. West Warwick, can accommodate over 100 people. Food and beverages are available for a nominal donation. The Upper Room also holds Life Skills classes every Thursday evening at 6:30PM. (On the third Thursday of each month the class is preceded by a free meal.)
There are industry professionals and volunteers who contribute to these Life Skills classes. They instruct and mentor program participants. This is one way for clients to earn points for shopping at Jericho Place. Each point earned is equivalent to a dollar. Clients can also earn points by participating in the Monday night Bible Study or by attending one of the AA or NA meetings held in the Upper Room during the week, or by going to any Christian Church service or study.
Point data is input into a database so that points are tracked and accounted to each individual. Individuals then choose how to spend “the loot” in the individual stores of Jericho Place. These stores include Clothes (Naomi’s for women, Daniel’s Den for men, Kids Kingdom and Baby Trinkets) Household Goods, and Treasures having just that for sale. The Beauty Salon is fully licensed and the Living Waters Café offers free beverages and snacks.
So, as can be perceived, the Artic Mission is a very varied and capable place for helping humanity. John Melancaro, who first founded the mission, now holds NA group meetings on Sunday evenings. Yet it is very much Charles Nault who embodies the spirit and initiative of the mission, as it is his leading hand cultivating the progress they have made.
He identifies the missions BHAG as a facility they one day hope to open that will provide living space and expand upon the Life Skills classes. He is adamant upon calling it a rehabilitation facility rather than a homeless shelter.
Nault explains that many of these creative initiatives come from the book “Good to Great,” a run-away business bestseller for many years. The book reveals the means to structure focused and productive organizations. From this he envisioned the mission’s plans for the facility to be based upon what he refers to as the “Delancy Street” Model, named after the rehabilitation facility in San Francisco of the same name. He chose it as opposed to the Rescue Mission model, because it is a self-sustaining model which includes businesses run and operated entirely by clients of the facility.
What Nault says he really likes about the model is that it requires little paid staff to sustain operations. Staff consists of in-house participants and patrons who instruct new joiners or recruits into the functional ranks of the mission. Those new to the program are looked upon as “immigrants” who must be trained and instructed to accommodate their new place, way, and means of living. The client “staff” helps to rehabilitate individuals to proper work and social abilities so they may adapt to being respectable functional citizens. This structure of system rehabilitation is known for its service to all, even hardcore criminals.
The Artic Mission’s goal is to teach people to think and function “out of the box” rather than be rutted and forgotten “within the box.” “Many people have no self worth because they create no worth themselves”, Nault likes to say. Instilling self-worth you create self worth… RESPECT!