Making an Impact

Thousands find home and healing at Impact Missions
Story by Tonya L. Thompson photos courtesy of Impact Missions

Two years ago, Kaitlin*, a junior in high school who had been physically, sexually and emotionally abused, arrived at the doorstep of the Impact Missions Home for Girls. She was immediately given the family-oriented atmosphere, food, clothing and other basic living essentials that had been previously denied to her. After receiving counseling, educational tutoring and independent living skills training, Kaitlin went on to graduate from high school with honors and an academic scholarship to a four-year university.


Kaitlin’s story is just one of many that reflect the work of Impact Missions, a local, faith-based nonprofit serving DeSoto County and surrounding areas.  “Serving others is a tremendous honor and responsibility that we have been enjoying for 33 consecutive years now,” says President and CEO, Donald Davidson. “Our desire is to instill hope in every life we touch. Hope is something all of us need, because all of us struggle from time to time. That’s life. But hope anchors our soul, giving us courage to face our fears, believing that tomorrow can be better than today.”


That hope is also an anchor that has strengthened the organization’s reach and outlook.  Growing from a formal merger of two faith-based ministries, Desoto Sunrise Homes and Christian Counseling Ministries of Southaven, Impact Missions now has 17 full-time employees and approximately 50 volunteers who serve abused and neglected children and youth, hurting families and impoverished people from the community, region and state.


According to Chris Pope, a grant writer for Impact Missions, the nonprofit provides a variety of programs and services, including a counseling center, a thrift store, the group home for at-risk teenage girls and a crisis care shelter for boys and girls.  “Impact Missions plays a vital role in helping struggling people find a more positive and productive life,” says Pope.  “Without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of our work is being able to witness the transformation of a broken life.”


Such transformation has come in many forms and has grown exponentially since Impact Missions first began. Its faith-based counseling center is an example, as it now provides seminary-trained counselors who conduct individual, group and family therapy in the fields of marriage and family, singles and adult issues, children and youth, addictions, substance abuse, sexual abuse, emotional distress, divorce recovery and financial counseling. Referencing 2 Corinthians 1:4, Carmen Taylor, one of Impact Missions’ counselors says, “God comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”


Fees for all counseling services are assessed on a sliding scale that is based on an individual’s income level, making them affordable to all in need, and no one has ever been turned away due to lack of the ability to pay.  Pope states that last year alone, Impact Missions served 200 abused and neglected children and youth (figures based on a monthly resident census), counseled more than 1,000 people, and gave away approximately $200,000 worth of benevolence items such as food, water and clothing to more than 800 needy individuals and families.
However, Impact Mission’s Children’s Ministry, which consists of the group home for at-risk teenage girls and the crisis care shelter for boys and girls, is the heart and soul of the organization. “Collectively, we have served more than 5,000 young people since our inception, the majority of which are from North Mississippi,” says Pope. 


Impact Mission’s group home for at-risk teenage girls and the crisis care shelter for boys and girls provide homeless children and youth, ages 10 to 21 years old, with a safe and viable alternative to living in unsafe homes or on the streets. Young people benefit from a warm place to stay; a supportive, friendly atmosphere that facilitates trust; nutritious meals that nourish their minds and bodies; on-site educational tutoring; medical and social services; life skills training; self-esteem development;
individual, group and family therapy; weekly church attendance (participation is voluntary); recreational activities; crisis intervention counseling; and access to a wealth of other supportive services that result in a brighter future for children and youth in the community, region and state.


In order to provide these services, Impact Missions relies heavily on the generosity of donors to financially support its multifaceted ministry. This support consists primarily of donations and grants, which come from businesses, churches, foundations, individuals, and local and state governments. Impact Missions also generates a small amount of income from counseling fees, thrift store sales, fundraisers, and per diems for children placed in their care through the Mississippi Department of Human Services.


“Our annual administrative costs are consistently less than 10 percent of the overall budget,” says Pope. “For every dollar we have spent, 86 cents went to support vital programs that are creating a brighter future for abused and neglected children and youth, hurting families and impoverished people. Six cents went to raising awareness of and support for the ministry.”


That awareness of the problems that face our community is vital, which is why, in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Impact Missions will hold its first “Hearts Cry” family day at the Southaven Arena from 2 to 10:00 p.m.  The event will include games for kids of all ages, animals, a car show, live music, delicious food, exciting exhibits, raffles, prizes and more. “This wholesome, family-oriented day is designed to rally community awareness and support around a cause that matters to all of us – the safety of our precious children,” says Pope. 


Those interested in learning more about the work of Impact Missions, its plans for the future, the “Hearts Cry” event or how to make a donation can contact the ministry directly at 662.253.0232 or by email at impact@impactms.org. They can also visit the organization’s website at
impactms.org.

CAUSES

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