Writing for Their Lives

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Jul 6, 2017 1:21:54 PM

Writing is one of the key subjects we work on in our Vocational Education classes. We want to prepare our residents to communicate well in their future jobs and personal lives, so creating opportunities for them to express themselves both personally and professionally is a top priority. 

They get practice typing journal responses in a Word document and attaching them to an email.  They also learn to write a business letter, a narrative story, and a persuasive essay, assignments that have proven handy in real life.  A couple of ladies had to write a business letter to recommend another resident in a court decision.  Another woman had to persuade a judge to reduce her child support payments while she was in the program. 

Some residents write their personal testimonies for their narrative story assignment - you can read one of them below.


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Recovery and Vocational Education Go Hand in Hand

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Apr 6, 2017 9:42:18 AM

When trauma and schoolwork intersect

By Joel Brown, Vocational Education Manager

It is 9:25 in the morning and Billy (named changed to protect privacy) is just arriving to school.  The rest of the kids have already started their entry task and are working diligently to be the first to complete it.  Billy, however, slowly walks into the class and over to the teacher.  For the most part, he gets along with the adults in the classroom; however, because his clothes are dirty and rarely get washed the other students tend to stay away.  The teacher stealthily reaches into her desk drawer and pulls out a granola bar for Billy to eat.  He rarely gets breakfast. 

Billy isn’t doing very well in school; he participates when he can, but gets easily frustrated when he doesn’t understand the material.  In addition to struggling with learning, Billy also struggles with confrontation and authority and spends a lot of his school day in detention.

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Learning to Get Back up

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Jun 8, 2016 10:06:48 AM

By Joel Brown, Vocational Education Manger

Recently, I began teaching my 7-year-old daughter how to ride a two-wheel bike.  She was extremely excited to ride a bike like her big sissy; however, somewhat cautious about letting go of the training wheels.

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Lose the Label: Not Enough

Posted by Merrily Brast, Staff Writer Dec 3, 2015 7:16:04 PM

Growing up, Stefani Martin was bombarded with the message, "you are not enough." Not cool enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.

It didn’t take long for that message to become an internal belief.

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A Lasting Legacy of Vocational Education

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Oct 23, 2015 9:29:40 AM

On Tuesday, October 20, UGM held an open house and dedication for the new DeRuwe Center, an annex to the Men’s Shelter and administration building. The new building houses an expanded Vocational Education Center, 17 offices, a fully equipped video and audio recording studio, four classrooms and a large multi-purpose room.

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Lose the Label: Stupid

Posted by Merrily Brast, Staff Writer Sep 24, 2015 5:41:08 PM

By Merrily Brast, Staff Writer

Jeff LeBlanc believed he was stupid.

“I just couldn’t get stuff and nobody could tell me why other than that I’m stupid.”

He couldn’t sit still in school and he had trouble concentrating on learning when there were other things to worry about.

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