Sheboygan County Interfaith Organization (SCIO) was established in 1989, with First Congregational UCC being one of the founding members. SCIO brings communities of faith together in partnership to meet the social needs of our community, and currently consists of thirty churches ofvarying denominations in Sheboygan County. Our shared values bring us together to educate and advocate for social justice, dignity, and to improve the quality of life for all people. We believe it is our calling to lift up those that struggle to help themselves. Our programs offer a “hands-up” rather than a hand out. We truly do bridge the gap between community needs and resources. The three main programs that SCIO has founded is : Bridgeway & Beyond, Farmer’s Market and Supervised Visitations.
Bridgeway & Beyond
Bridgeway & Beyond is a 13-bed residential transitional living program for single mothers and their children who are homeless or living in vulnerable situations. The Bridgeway staff and volunteers work with the at-risk mothers and their children and focuses on providing stability to them while living at Bridgeway so they can take their success beyond Bridgeway.
Many women who enter Bridgeway have experienced unimaginable fear, violence and instability in their lives. As a result, some of the women are suffering from addiction and mental health issues. Some women, because of their traumatic backgrounds, do not have sufficient parenting or job skills to provide for their children. Many of the women have been involved in unhealthy or abusive relationships.
The goal of Bridgeway is to provide the structure and financial stability needed so at-risk mothers and their children can emerge from the program and go on to live safe, stable, self-sufficient lives. The women living at Bridgeway get support in a structured environment, but they must also demonstrate progress and accountability to live there. Residents must work with a case manager who assesses the woman’s needs, sets goals, and finds programming and other resources to help her address those needs.
Residents make a commitment to living at Bridgeway for three months and can reside there for up to two years. The women must perform regular chores and cleaning of the house and must abide by all rules. The many rules include being in the home by a certain time each night and consenting to random police drug dog searches to ensure residents are clean and sober.
Many of these women could have easily been written off as hopeless people in our society. Some have criminal records. But Bridgeway proves that with help, structure, programming, love and compassion, these women can (and often do) emerge as self-sufficient, independent women and mothers who are heroes to their children and assets to our society.
If we continue to support organizations like Bridgeway & Beyond, it will help to strengthen and transform these vulnerable women and their children in our community, one family at a time.
The SCIO Farmers Market offers the best produce that Wisconsin farmers have to offer. All vendors live within 100 miles of the market, so you are truly supporting your neighbor. We work to help local farmers remain vibrant, educate the community on healthy eating, and provide a social experience that helps build community. The Sheboygan Marketruns Wednesday and Saturday’s June through October at Fountain Park and continues indoor twice monthly November through May at First Congregational Church in Sheboygan. The Plymouth Market runs June 15 – Oct 12th on Thursdays at the Fairfield Plaza.
Supervised Visitation Program
SCIO’s Supervised Visitation Program provides a safe and positive way for children to visit with their parents as their families experience a difficult or transitional time. Supervised Visitation may be required by the court, health and human services or requested as self-referrals. The child(ren) and visiting parent(s) are given a private, child-friendly room to spend time together. The child and parent are monitored by a trained staff who is neutral to the family situation.
Sheboygan County Interfaith Organization is funded by grants, foundations, faith communities, individuals, and The United Way of Sheboygan County.
To learn more about SCIO’s programs visit www.sheboygancountyinterfaith.org