Running with Our Good Neighbors
The Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter is hosting a 5K Challenge this Saturday.
The race begins at 6:30 p.m.
Participants can register any time before the event online or in person at the race beginning at 5:30 p.m. Registration is $25 per participant and includes an event T-shirt.
All proceeds go directly to The Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter and the invaluable services they provide to Cartersville.
The entire community is invited to participate, including seasoned walkers, occasional runners, serious competitors and entire families of all ages. For those looking for a little friendly competition, awards will be presented in various age brackets.
Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter is located at 110 Porter Street in Cartersville. The building, constructed in 2001, is staff-operated 24 hours a day and offers 23 beds, two women’s bunk rooms and two men’s bunk rooms. There is also a common area for family use.
“We’ve been really full this year,” said Good Neighbor’s Executive Director Jessica Mitcham. “For the first time in 16 years, we’ve been filled to capacity every day since January.”
The shelter has strict guidelines to which guests must adhere. When a guest, or on many occasions an entire family, checks into the shelter, each person must pass a drug test. Once admitted into the shelter’s care the guests have four weeks to find employment. Once work is found, they can stay up to eight more weeks in order to save enough money for an apartment or home elsewhere. During this time the guests are required to show proof of paychecks as well as consent to potential random drug testing.
“Most of our guests have been very successful,” said Mitcham. “Eighty percent have consistently found jobs and have been able to secure apartments and housing arrangements and gotten back on their feet.”
Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter has helped countless individuals over the past 16 years. In 2010 alone they served 329 guests, including 28 children.
“I think the shelter is extremely valuable in our community given how difficult the times are now,” said Mitcham. “We’re able to help those who are really trying to get on their feet. We offer them the support they need to reach their goals and start over again.”
The shelter does its best to connect their guests with other non profits in the community in order to provide the most well-rounded care possible. It consistently refer guests to the department of labor where they can take part in free interview training and resume workshops. They also do a great deal of work in conjunction with the local women’s shelter.
“Donations are always welcome,” said Mitcham. “We post a monthly needs list on our website that lists items we’re in need of, such as groceries and basic household items.”
The shelter is always looking for volunteers. They are offering a “Get To Know Your Good Neighbor” event on May 11 at noon. There will be a free lunch provided, as well as a tour of the shelter in order to give individuals an inside look at the shelter and volunteer opportunities.