Thanks for stopping by to visit this website. It is our hope that you will find it time well spent.
First, I’d like to introduce ourselves. My name is Steve Griffith and my wife’s name is Melinda. We were high school sweethearts and decided to get hitched a few months after graduation. We both loved the Lord, knew what hard work was all about and shared the same life expectations. So for the next 35 years we kept our noses to the grindstone, raising a family, founding several companies and doing our best to honor God along the way.
From the beginning, Melinda and I felt a desire to get to a point in life where we were completely untethered and free to pursue a God given desire to make a difference in people’s lives. But what would that pursuit look like? The answer is not as easy as you may think. During this search, I found myself volunteering with a ministry called Bridges to Life. This is a prison based ministry whereby you spend 14 sessions with a group of inmates in an effort to help them see themselves more accurately and how their actions impact themselves and others. It was at the tail end of one of these sessions when we were talking about transitioning out of prison and how that could go favorably, or south, depending on your first few decisions. One of the ladies in the group said “Steve, how can I have hope! This makes my fourth time to be incarcerated. I know when I get out, the only place I have to go to is back to that same cesspool that always leads me back here.” I was dumbstruck. What do you say? This lady did not need encouraging words, but real help. Her statement hit a nerve because I had no answer. It was obvious she wanted a new life, but could see no way out of the old one.
Two years later, God would use this lady’s words to provide direction to what is now Lifeway Haven. Melinda and I spent six months visiting other ministries across the nation to discover what was being offered to at-risk women. We wanted to discover what their best practices were and what they learned along the way. The other question that drove our decision as to what Lifeway Haven should offer was “What if it was our daughter who was getting out of incarceration? What kind of place would we feel was safe and offered her the best chance for a better life?” The answer took time, a lot of research and prayer.
It took 2.5 years from the date of purchase, but now Lifeway Havens’ doors are open. We have been encouraged to have our first graduate doing well in the free world. An unexpected surprise has been the emergence of an extended family of volunteers and folks that truly have a love and compassion for the ladies going through the program. We call these folks our Lifeway Framily (friends and family). It’s our Framily that provides much of the encouragement, support and networking that is crucial to a successful new life launch.
Throughout the years, Melinda and I have invested in the lives of people who were in need of a hand up. We have learned a few things along the way. Throwing money at problems usually leads to a bigger problem. Short-term investments usually produce short-term results. The person you’re investing in has to truly desire change and are willing to work hard for those changes. Even though the pathway to a better life may be obvious, people are still people and decisions made are not always logical or rational. All that to say, Melinda and I hope to use lessons learned and spend a minimum of one year with each Lifeway lady to mentor, coach and encourage. Our goal for each graduate is to:
- Have the confidence and ability to see problems as opportunities, then seek multiple solutions and then to pursue the best option.
- Walk in faith knowing you are now living in such a way that pleases God.
- Seek to be that friend and neighbor that others can count on.
- Be proactively looking for opportunities to provide random acts of kindness.
- Sleep well at night knowing you made a difference that day or took another step in a better direction.
- Have multiple skill sets that will help make you employable.
- Not only get a job, but to have the work ethics and habits to keep it and be promoted.
- To think entrepreneurially.
- To understand how economics can be applied to all facets of life.
- To manage your time well by applying the 20/80 rule.
- To learn how to react to others who see life differently with kindness and compassion, while standing firm on your values and convictions.
- Gain a significant amount of knowledge and then learn how to apply it.
- To be fully prepared and equipped to do well in the free world.
- For those who desire and are qualified, to continue for another year to learn management and leadership skills.
Yes, this is a lot to accomplish in less than a year. Melinda and I have never been accused of setting our expectations too low. But we all know life is tough, even under the best of conditions. Having a previous incarceration on your record will make life even that more challenging. But we also know these challenges can be met and overcome with God’s favor and the correct mind set and resolve to see it through.
We are still on the front end of this journey with much to learn and improve. With God’s favor/blessing, we hope the time at Lifeway Haven will be that life changing moment in time that sets a better life path for all those that call this place home.