So we did not get the grant. Not terribly shocking, but still disappointing. Thanks everyone who offered words of encouragement and support. There are some amazing organizations that were awarded the money and some amazing organizations that are on the outside looking in. As I said last week, I had very mixed feelings about applying. Congrats to everyone who had successful applications and thank you to the Commission who had an incredibly difficult task.
Now, onto some really good Money News...
- Stories: Stories are what drive ministries. Statistics are nice. Pictures are fascinating. But a story can connect us with other people from other generations in other places more powerfully than any other medium. I would love to find more stories about Joel's Place and specifically how those experiences served to alter the trajectory of people's lives.
- Partnership: We are always in search of partnership. People who will give of their time, of their money, of their creativity and gifts in order to make Joel's Place a better place for kids. The best place to look for partnership is among people who have been blessed by Joel's Place.
- Long-term reporting: Many grants and proposals that I submit have the same question in some form. "Does your organization make the world better?" I truly believe that it does...but that tends to not be a sufficient answer. I would love to be able to point to young men and women in their teens, twenties and thirties who could testify to the benefits of Joel's Place.
- Mentoring: I list this one last because it is the most important and needs the most space. As an adult with some positional authority, my words carry some weight with the youth here. I tell them to stop and they do. I tell them the storms of life will pass and they kind of believe me. If I bring in a 25 year old skater who grew up at Joel's Place...walked the same hallways...got yelled at by the staff in the same way...faced the same challenges and struggles...and has come out the other side with a good job and a solid social life? Pure gold. We have 15 years worth of mentors out there. 15 years worth of young people who have struggled through the worst that life could throw at them and made it. 15 years worth of voices of experience and compassion who have walked in the same footsteps as our current generation of youth. To be able to bring those generations together would be like pouring hope and perseverance and passion directly into the hearts of our kids. As I said...pure gold.
This is an exciting proposition for me. I have been talking to the Board about connecting with alumni for a couple of years now. The money will help us get back on track after a rough first quarter, but the connections and relationships are the true prize here. How many mentors and partners are there who could help turn around the lives of these kids? I am eager to find out.
If you have been connected with Joel's Place over the years and want to participate in this April Alumni Challenge, check back here in a couple of days (when it is actually April) and I will have a link embedded so you can give towards our $10,000 goal or feel free to call Joel's Place, visit our website or just swing by the Youth Center at your convenience.
Finally, I am so grateful to all of you who have come before me that helped to create this amazing place. Blessings upon you all.