Opportunity Through Generosity
Starbucks Helps a Latte
"What I’m hoping to achieve is to bring some really good candidates into the company. I want to give amazing people an opportunity that they may not have had,” explains Starbucks manager James Artis. “Ultimately we want to help the company grow, but we want to help the individual as well.”
His idea to interview homeless shelter residents as employees for his Starbucks stores came from early experiences with helping others. James first became aware of Central Union Mission when he volunteered here to fulfill his senior community service requirement for Nora School (Silver Spring, MD).
After he graduated from Hampden-Sydney College with a triple major in psychology, Spanish and theater, he returned to the DC area, where he began an assistant store manager position at the Navy Yard Starbucks. After only a year, he became manager at the The Portals store and has been a store manager for four years.
“I really liked the principles of Starbucks and what the company is about: equal pay, fair trade, quality sourcing,” he says. “It has a very strong foundation, support system and leadership team. With the opportunities I have been given, I decided I should reach out.” He knew that some qualified people would not otherwise have access to the interview process, so he spent a day in May at the Mission interviewing potential employees.
Because of James’ open-minded and big-hearted attitude, several Missions men can now have a promising career; you can read their stories below. Many thanks to James and the Starbucks Corporation for their generosity and compassion.
Seeing More Clearly
Marcus Rucker had some college and a background in computer repair, but he “stopped caring for my life and paused. My parents didn’t like what I was changing into.” They helped him decide to come to the Mission, and he graduated from the Spiritual Transformation Program (STP) in 2015. He was already in the Mission Work Program when he heard about the Starbucks interview
He likes his new job at Starbucks. “I am trying to learn everything. It takes a minute, but I get it when I truly focus.” Best of all, his goal of finishing college and working with computers is now more accessible—due to Starbucks’ employee education program. Marcus feels that Central Union Mission has made all the difference in his life. “The Mission helped guide me and let me focus on gaining patience and understanding. The STP
helped me see things more clearly.”
Preparation is Key
Michael Nelson left Rappahanock, VA, in January to find a new life in Washington, DC. He was in and out of all the city’s shelters but much preferred Central Union Mission’s clean, safe and polite facility.
He wanted to make the best impression for his Starbucks interview so he attended Mission Director of Education Bonnie Prichard’s interview class. “I learned about having a firm handshake and looking people in the eye,” he explains. With some appropriate clothes from the Haberdashery, he presented himself with confidence. Starbucks hired him for their Capital Gallery Starbucks near L’Enfant Plaza, which made him eligible to participate in
the Mission’s Work Program.
Michael is a DC native with two sons and four grandchildren in Baltimore. “Since I’m now employed, I’ll be able to see my family more,” he realized. Michael hopes to finish a college degree in business management and to work his way up the Starbucks corporate ladder. He thanks Reverend Rutherford Cooke, who “encouraged me; he believed in me. Without the Mission, I wouldn’t have this Starbucks job or a place to live.”
In Record Time
Johnathan Payne started working full-time as customer support at the Capital Gallery Starbucks in mid- June. What he likes about Starbucks is how “seriously they take everything.” “They teach you to engage the customers and help them out,” he explains. He is thrilled with his new job and hopes to stay at Starbucks for his career.
He knew that his several years of coffee experience working for Cosi gave him good background, and this was an opportunity he couldn’t have found on his own. Johnathan had been doing childcare for a family who threw him out with only the clothes on his back. His father suggested that Central Union Mission could help him get his life on track.
He heard about the Starbucks interviews shortly after arriving at the Mission. In the Mission’s Work Program, Jonathan is living at the shelter and saving his paycheck to rent his own apartment. “Coming to the Mission gave me a second chance at life—and in record time! I am already better now than when I came,” he marvels.
From the Executive Director
Unexpected? Not for God!
Many a Christian college student has earnestly prayed the “Lord, what shall I do with my life?” prayer. As a senior at Wheaton College, I was sitting uncomfortably in our college chapel during our “Spiritual Emphasis Week,” praying for God’s direction after graduation. It was during the days of Viet Nam and the draft; I was completing ROTC and awaiting commissioning, and I was anticipating my fiancée’s and my August
wedding. But I was also terribly insecure as to my real future as an adult.
Over the course of five days of intense, honest prayer, God outlined my future. At the end of the week, I felt fully assured in plans to serve in the US Army for 20 years then pursue Christian employment with the security of the Army’s excellent retirement plan. Reflecting today, I marvel at how naïve I was. Yet even so, God generously and clearly laid out His plan for my life at that time.
At the 21-year point of a successful Army career, I completed the Army’s War College and was selected for promotion. My way seemed obvious, until a month later when Christian Legal Society offered me a job as administrator. The memory of my college prayer and assurance returned. I requested that my name be removed from the promotion list, and I retired from the Army.
I loved the job at Christian Legal Society. I thought that for the rest of my life I would be supporting Christian lawyers who were protecting religious freedom. My college prayers seemed fulfilled. Little did I know.
While working at Christian Legal Society, I became a church elder and was assigned to our missions council. One question nagged me: “Why are we sending youth on expensive trips to Ukraine and Jamaica but doing nothing to serve the needs of poor and hurting people right next door?” As only God could arrange, Central Union Mission seemed to be at every missions organizational meeting I attended. Soon I was leading church groups into the city to
volunteer at the Mission and Camp Bennett.
In 1997, I was able to offer the Mission board some thoughts on Christian conciliation when the Mission was facing a leadership challenge, and they invited me to join them as a board member. Six months later, they invited me to serve Central Union Mission as executive director, challenging me to apply my military, nonprofit and church experience. God moved me from one “mission” to another!
Eighteen years later, I see God answered my college prayer beyond all I could hope for or imagine. As Isaiah 65:24 promises, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” I challenge you today—ask Him. I’m a witness that He will give you His answer.
This article first appeared in the June 15, 2016, Washington Times
A Model of Financial Accountability
Charity Navigator awarded Central Union Mission four out of a possible four stars, which indicates that Central Union Mission adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way. Charity Navigator is America’s premier independent charity evaluator. Your generous support keeps Central Union Mission effective and efficient.
Time to Come Alive
St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” God’s will is for us to love Him and others well and seek Him to help us grow.
By figuring out what He has uniquely created us for, we can truly come alive. Here are some ways to get started:
1. Pray. Jeremiah 29:13 says if we seek the Lord with our whole heart, we’ll find Him.
2. Ask questions. At the end of your life what things would make you say “that was a life well lived”?
3. Take a step. Identify where the world’s greatest needs and your greatest passions intersect—then take action.
During this process you may discover your passions align with Central Union Mission. Would you consider becoming a volunteer or remembering us in your Will? You could also consider giving appreciated stock.
It’s a practical way to exercise good stewardship, fulfill a personal passion and create eternal impact.
For more on becoming “fully alive,” request a free copy of “How to Say Yes to God’s Call” by contacting Deborah Chambers at 202-745-7118, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or bless your family today with a God-honoring Will at christianwill.org/missiondc.
Summer in the City
Why do homeless people wear winter clothes—even in the steamy summer? Some may be going through withdrawal or be mentally ill, which causes them not to feel the heat properly. Others are protecting what little property they own. Regardless, excessive heat can be dangerous to their health.
That’s why Central Union Mission offers a comfortable, safe respite from the city streets. Our air conditioning, clean water, showers and nutritious food help restore a man’s health and purpose.
Your financial gift and your prayers will help us serve those suffering souls during the difficult summer months. Thank you so much for caring.
Executive Luncheons and Dinners
September 8, 2016—11:30 am
September 29, 2016—6:30 pm
You are invited to come enjoy a delicious meal, tour the shelter and meet some men involved in the Mission’s STP and work programs. RSVP at missiondc.org/dinners.
Food PLUS Center Grocery Distribution
August 1 and 4, 2016; September 6 and 8, 2016
Anytime between 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Register at missiondc.org/volunteer to help prepare food bags for the community.
September 16, 2016— 9:30 am
September 23, 2016, in Spanish— 9:30 am
You can help serve seniors as they enjoy fellowship and a delicious meal.
HeArt & Sole
October 27, 2016—7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
VIP Experience 6:00 to 10:00 pm
Don’t miss this exciting and creative gourmet event with notable chefs, local celebrities, trendy food and drink and lots of fun—all to benefit
the Mission’s homeless neighbors. VIP tickets include cooking demonstrations and the VIP lounge. Early Bird tickets are available
To register for these volunteer activities, please visit missiondc.org/volunteer