“I want to plant a garden.” That’s what Terry, a man living at The Lodge at Fayetteville Area Operation Inasmuch (FAOIAM), said when asked what his hopes and dreams are in this next phase of life. A garden is but one of the many goals Terry is working toward during his time spent in The Lodge, an initiative to help homeless men get their lives back on track. You see, before coming to The Lodge Terry was homeless. When he found himself struggling, FAOIAM was there to recognize his potential and offered him a path toward transformation. The men at The Lodge commit to financial, social, and spiritual goals, and we offer a multi-phase, holistic program. The men are provided an opportunity to get their lives back on track, which for Terry includes soil, seeds, and the hope for a little rain.
While growing tomatoes or blueberries may seem mundane to most, for Terry it represents so much more. It represents a piece of land he can call his own, tend to, and nurture. It represents the transformation from seed to sprout, the protection from invasive pests that could poison his crop, and a reward of sweet fruit after wiping sweat from his brow. Perhaps his dream of a garden also represents the transformation of his own life. That by reclaiming his life, protecting it from anything that would get him off track, and dedicating himself to the work required for growth, surely he will be rewarded with the fruits of his labor.
The hopes of a garden and the dreams of a transformed life are why those who support men like Terry will come together and run Fayetteville Area Operation Inasmuch’s Ray’s Run 5K, beginning at 8:30AM on October 8th. Ray’s Run honors the memory of former Executive Director Ray Helton, who championed The Lodge and began the work that continues there today. Ray’s Run 5K will be held at Methodist University and the run will benefit the men at The Lodge by providing needed upgrades to the facility. For those interested, registration is still open and can be found at raysrun.fun. We urge Fayetteville to join us in restoring hope and dreaming big, so that we can continue to help men like Terry sow the seeds of change in their lives.