YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley is offering clients more than just a place to live.
Clients can now get a degree, becoming one of the first shelters in the nation to do so. The organization is collaborating with San Diego Christian College to offer clients an online Associates of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies.
The clients were all enrolled in a 12-month Discipleship Academy with the college, and the partnership allowed them to enroll in the classes.
“I got my GED and to have this opportunity is something I don’t want to pass up,” said Rescue Mission client Paul Wiltheiss.
“I went to ITT in 2001 to 2002. And as we say around here that we were all caught up in the world. And so I dropped out. It was always on my heart to go back to school,” said client Brad Weber, who has been at the Rescue Mission for five months.
Weber said his dream is to become a pastor, so the partnership with San Diego Christian College is a good way for him to pursue more education in the ministry field.
Seven residents are currently enrolled in the program. The first classes started last week and will end in June.
“The goal is to provide our clients with the tools they need so when they leave the Rescue Mission, we’re more likely not to see them walking back through the door as clients,” said John Muckridge, director of education for the Rescue Mission.
Muckridge said the degree will give the students the first two years of core classes that can be taken at any college.
The Rescue Mission is providing a computer lab and computers to make it easier for the clients to complete the program, but they will still be able to log into the curriculum once they leave the shelter.
The partnership is also ensuring the students graduate debt free. San Diego Christian College is offering scholarships to all of the Rescue Mission’s clients.