Work Wanted – Dignity Desired – Help Needed

Thursday May 31, 2012 the Los Angeles Mission hosted the 11th annual job faire for Skid Row. This was done in partnership with the Los Angeles Central Providers Collaborative and an amazing array of employers, educators and work force development participants.

Work Wanted – The Los Angeles Times printed a photo of Aaron Moore. It was one of my favorites because it captured the spirit of the event, the personal need and it showed a different face of homelessness than the chronic homeless old white alcoholic. Not to put down “old white guys” as they have needs too.  But, in our attempts to end homelessness we need to see images of the full spectrum of those experiencing this temporary state of life. Aaron was articulate, well dressed and intent on finding a job. I hope to report soon that he did so!

Dignity Desired – During the event someone said to me “you should do this every month, there is so much need.”  I agree, every month when unemployment statistics are released we should see images of those lives slowly being destroyed simply because of a lack of employment and income. There are so many excuses why people aren’t employed and there are millions of dollars spent analyzing the problem at the local, state and federal levels of government… to what avail? True some are just lazy and don’t want to work but in my experience, that is a minority. Many of that minority with counseling, encouragement and education can rise above the despair to find dignity in work. Yes, I believe there is a theology of work. My Christian world-view includes God creating us with a desire to work; work to be enjoyed. Adam and Eve are symbolic of the idea that we are created to care for the planet, to work in harmony with creation and to enjoy life to its fullest.

Dignity is a result of self esteem. Self esteem comes from achieving goals and realizing our purpose in life. Work should be a source of completion and fulfillment, not just a paycheck to survival. I have often wondered why job creation in the US comes from small and midsized companies and not the mega corporations. I believe in part it is because those companies are led and fueled by people with passion for what they do bolstered by the dignity achieved in seeing dreams come true.

Help Wanted – I see that passion in the men and women who go through our Fresh Start program here at the Los Angeles Mission. Our recovery programs are not just about addictions, education or work therapy. They encompass all those aspects – capped with a sense of spiritual value and personal self worth – as God intended. We see little visions of “I can” become small businesses like Taylor Made Cakes, God’s Joyful Creation (a florist), Servant’s Catering or CDR a cleaning company, all started by Mission graduates. We see professional goals achieved as nurses, drug counselors, pastors, meat cutters, truck drivers and salespersons all because a spark was ignited and fueled with a little help from the Mission, our volunteers and mentors.

Help Wanted – Persons of integrity, filled with compassion, gifted in coaching, willing to do whatever duties assigned to help end homelessness one life at a time by employing those ready to work or sponsoring those ready to test their dreams of professional achievement by creating small businesses and helping them to grow.

Can we count on you? Give me a call at 213-629-1227 x305 or contact one of the other LACPC service providers in Skid Row and make a difference that counts. Work Wanted- Dignity Desired – Help Wanted.

-Herb Smith, President

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