Meet our Community Workforce Development Leadership Award Winner, Men’s Challenge

The Lake Township Chamber presents the Community Workforce Development award for the creation of Men’s Challenge, a local non-profit organization that serves a population in need in our region.  Part six in our blog series honoring our Leadership Award recipients focuses on this Christ centered multi-step program which empowers men to take up their God-given roles as providers and protectors of the family.

Men’s Challenge was launched in February of 2012, when three Christian men, Ray Hall, Paul Dykshoorn and Gil Goodwin, felt led to pray for an avenue that would help bring men to the understanding that God has placed in them a purpose for their work. Ed Carter, current Chairman of the Board, was asked to pray for an organization that would engage experienced, hard-working men to pour into young men who hadn’t Mens'sChallengePaulyet learned the blessings of working.  The vision was to create a place where these seasoned men could invest in the next generation of employees. “But it was going to be more that that…it was a place where those men could pour into them the love and teachings of Christ. I have been a mentor, a teacher, board member and now I am currently the Chairman of the Board,” Ed stated. He continued, “Many men don’t understand the principle of hard work, they are not taught this; They view work as something evil, a means to an end even. But God never intended that to be the case, God intended man to work, to find pleasure…yes it would be hard, but it would be purposeful. To provide, to achieve, to accomplish…those are blessings of God found in our work.”

The concept was church-focused from the outset. The Men’s Challenge founders view the local church as the hope of the world and a natural partner to Men’s Challenge. They believe that the church body consists of quality older men with Christ at their core, who are equipped to mentor the program’s participants.  DSCN0087The organization, currently supported by four local churches, gives credit to Consumers Bank for understanding the unique financial and legal situations of the men participating in the program and for offering services that are custom-tailored to their needs. Ed noted, “Consumers Bank is rooted in this community and committed to its success.”

“We really believe that God is doing great things through Men’s Challenge, and in both Alliance and Canton, we have been openly received,” stated Ed. The organization has seen great growth since day one and they are currently streamlining their processes and identifying ways to be more effective in helping participants. They note plenty of growth opportunities in surrounding areas such as Massillon, Akron and others, but have Chainsaw Classresisted the temptation to grow too fast. They believe they must be sustainable if they hope to continue to impact the communities where they are active.

Men who are interested in involvement, either as mentors or as participants, can call one of the offices in Canton, 330-754-6203, or Alliance, 330-821-6367. There is an intake process that needs to be completed to help identify any barriers to employment, but interested men are also welcome to attend any class on a walk-in basis. They currently have a need for mentors at both locations.

For more information on Men’s Challenge, visit their website.