New Tomorrows: Class helps with the move toward self-sufficiency

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Damon Scott hopes that being a part of the New Tomorrows program will not only benefit him, but also give outsiders a new perception of homelessness.
New Tomorrows is a partnership between Rowan Helping Ministries and Park Avenue United Methodist Church.
The initiative is designed to facilitate a structured daytime environment for learning basic life skills in a classroom setting.
Participants meet three times a week for Bible study, yoga and cooking classes.
Scott is one of those participants. The Salisbury native said he hopes people get a more positive look and change their opinion on homelessness.
“We’re just going through a situation. We are trying and can be productive,” he said.
The stereotype, he said, is “we are trying to get what we can get.”
Scott wants to show people the clients who receive services from Rowan Helping Ministries are “good people.”
He said some people have recently lost their jobs and can’t pay their rent.
He hopes people will learn that New Tomorrows is a good program.
Scott would like for others to join the program to receive help from people just as he’s received.
“I feel more confident. I feel better about life in general,” he said.
Scott is making some positive life changes and credits God and people who’ve reached out a hand to help him.
Wendy Shutt thinks the cooking classes are fun.
“I love it,” she said.
Shutt, a Salisbury native, knows how to cook but enjoys learning new things.
She recommends the program to others.
Ricky Torrence of Salisbury has learned a lot in the few short weeks of the program.
Torrence is no stranger to cooking. He loves it. In fact, he wants to do it as a career.
He would like to be a caterer.
“I like to learn a lot of new things,” Torrence said.
Torrence enjoys cooking everything, including pot roast, beef stew and potatoes.
It surprises him that he likes the yoga classes.
“It relaxes my mind and muscles,” he said.
Torrence finds yoga very spiritual.
He’s an artist by trade. He uses different media including drawing, crafts, pastel and oil paintings.
“It’s something God has blessed me with,” he said.
New Tomorrows is made up of community leaders, ministers and volunteers or partners.
Partner Toi Degree, with the N.C. Cooperative Extension, said the sessions are getting off to a good start.
She said the number of people who regularly attend has changed slightly, but she thinks everyone is enjoying their time.
Degree said she likes to make the classes fun.
The group learns to prepare healthy, low-cost meals.
They also discuss proper food handling, preparing a grocery lists and what to do with leftovers.
“I give them ownership in the program to move toward self-sufficiency when they move out of the shelter,” Degree said.