A sampling of communications pieces written for non-profits including fundraising materials, newsletter entries and blog posts.
MISSION POSSIBLE NEWSLETTER FEATURE
Printed October, 2015
It’s 8:55am on a Monday morning. Coffee is brewing, chairs are set out and the first participants begin to trickle in. Another three day set of Work Readiness Workshops is about to start.
At Mission Possible, we believe in the power of meaningful employment to bring about lasting change. That’s why we regularly offer a three day employment readiness workshop series as the platform for all of our support. Through nine hours of interactive, discussion-based training, participants cover a variety of topics such as professionalism, teamwork, self care, and interview preparation. For many individuals, these workshops are an opportunity to relearn skills and focus on employment again, for others, the material is brand new. Regardless, the workshops are a place of encouragement, goal setting and motivation.
John was living in transitional housing close to Mission Possible when he heard about its opportunities to work and volunteer. While he was apprehensive about what they would offer him, he signed up for the workshops.
“I wasn’t expecting much going into the workshops, but I was pleasantly surprised,” he says. “Mission Possible had a more holistic approach…the workshops let me think about my barriers and what I wanted.”
For many, that’s what needs to be overcome: barriers. Getting a job isn’t impossible – just challenging – and at Mission Possible we aim to support people through that process.
For John, the helpful catalyst to overcoming his personal barriers was the sense of community he felt in the workshops.
“I felt like I was becoming a part of something,” he says.
Over the course of the three days, participants are encouraged to engage in discussion and offer up their own unique experiences and perspectives. It’s not simply a classroom, but an environment of mutual learning, respect and connection.
“There’s a reason why we are all here. If I could just go off and do it by myself, I’d go off and do it by myself. I’d have a job and everything would be fine,” John explains. “It’s the community that helped me take my next steps.”
Sarah, DP World
For Sarah Swanson, a regular volunteer and Mission Possible supporter, watching individuals in the workshop step in and mentor each other is a rewarding experience.
“People come to this program from all walks of life and mentor each other,” she says. “I feel like it’s a success when every person in the room has participated – not just by talking to me – but by talking to each other.”
Sarah began volunteering in the workshops through her Corporate Responsibility Committee at DP World, a long standing supporter of Mission Possible. She’s been an excellent resource for individuals participating in the workshops by providing them with helpful guidance and facilitation.
“I want to help address that gap in the poverty cycle,” says Sarah. “It’s important to enable people to earn a living and have pride in that.”
Jennifer, Mission Possible
On the other two days, the workshops are facilitated by Jennifer Langerud, a Mission Possible Advisor. While the workshops play an extremely important role in helping individuals prepare for work, Jennifer says that the importance of connection and community while this material is explored also plays a vital part.
“I think there’s value in participants connecting with other people within the workshops,” she explains.
There is no “average” story of a person who enters the Mission Possible Work Readiness Workshops. Instead, people are coming from a variety of experiences, struggles and successes. It’s these diverse stories that create such a dynamic learning experience.
A common struggle Jennifer sees in participants, however, is feeling overwhelmed, daunted or simply unsure of what’s next.
“Many times people walk in thinking that they can’t go to work – that it’s just not a possibility for them,” she says. “My hope is that they leave with a little bit of encouragement that tells them that actually they can work and find employment.”
At the end of the day…
Our goal for the Mission Possible workshops is to provide people with an opportunity to brush up on valuable skills that are applicable to any job. Our aim is to support individuals as they take these steps towards lasting change, and our hope is to empower people to find a sense of dignity and purpose through meaningful work.
Posted April 24, 2015.
Tired of being defined by living on welfare, in a single room occupancy home, heavily in addiction and with mental health struggles, J desired a purpose. He became serious about his recovery, and in late 2012 approached Mission Possible with a longing for community and meaning. J spent time volunteering out of the Powell Street community space, helping with a newly-formed hospital visitation team.
Soon after, J heard about an open position with Mission Possible Neighbours, a community-led safety and security team, and saw this as an opportunity to continue taking positive steps forward in his life. He attended our workshops, learning soft skills like professionalism, teamwork and self-care, and from there he interviewed for a position with the Neighbours team.
“It was a struggle. My rebellious heart wanted to give up,” he says about his time in training. “But I knew I had to have real change and that’s what made me push through.”
J felt encouraged in his first few weeks as an MP Neighbours associate and quickly hit his stride. He was a natural leader and he completed his six month contract well, building positive relationships with his team members, proving his dependability and displaying excellent workmanship. J was finding a purpose.
With an opening in the team as a supervisor or Lead Patroller, J returned to MP Neighbours in a permanent position.
“I was excited to get the call back,” he says. “I was excited to learn more and continue to grow. I was once welcomed in, and I wanted to give that back.”
Recently, we had the opportunity to welcome J in his newest role as MP Neighbours Coordinator. He’s doing a fantastic job of encouraging and mentoring people as they build their own sense of meaning and purpose.
J is an example of someone who has walked through Mission Possible’s doors ready and willing to make positive changes in his life. Oftentimes, people in the Downtown Eastside are simply looking for an opportunity for momentum forward but they don’t know where to begin. Through training, advising and work, our hope is to encourage these individuals to join us in a journey towards sustainable living and lasting change.
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2015.
Seated on her favourite bench outside of her building, Carol often saw Mission Possible Maintenance associates working hard. She knew she had untapped potential herself, but she was unsure of what steps to take to gain momentum.
Carol was used to being “the last one picked.” She grew up in the foster care system and has since lived on the Downtown Eastside. Challenged with multiple mental health diagnoses she was told she wouldn’t be able to raise her two young children, and at 38 years old she had never had a job. With the image of those associates’ uniforms in mind, Carol walked through Mission Possible’s doors.
Recently, we had the privilege of celebrating her completion of a 6 month work contract with MP Maintenance. Her energy and determined spirit solidify our belief that, more often than not, people struggling with homelessness and poverty are simply looking for an opportunity for transformation.
“I knew I was better than evaporated air,” she says, and it was this belief in herself that brought her to Mission Possible.
Carol’s first step, like all individuals who approach us looking for work, was to participate in an orientation. This one on one meeting gave her the opportunity to learn more about Mission Possible’s work program and to complete a Momentum Inventory, a questionnaire which helps prospective participants assess where they are at currently. It is in this phase that individuals consider if a journey towards employment with Mission Possible is something they want to commit to. Carol decided she was ready to take this step and immediately registered for our three day workshop series.
“The workshops were enlightening,” she says. “Before coming to Mission Possible I didn’t know what a soft skill or a hard skill was.”
These workshops are the platform that all of our program participants start on, teaching concepts such as professionalism, teamwork, self-care, and how to apply for a job. For Carol, it was an exciting learning opportunity and a chance to step out of her comfort zone by interacting with strangers within a safe environment.
Following the workshops, participants are encouraged to spend time volunteering with Mission Possible. Carol jumped right into helping with a community lunch at our Powell Street location and even though she felt shy, she courageously pitched in and offered assistance in a variety of roles. Through this experience, she gained confidence and a sense of value, knowing that her help was important.
Our goal at Mission Possible is to see people journey towards a sustainable livelihood and we believe that meaningful work opportunities are the path that takes them there. As a result, we aim to help individuals in our program find employment, sometimes within Mission Possible itself.
The Best Day of Her Life
For Carol, the maintenance team was a good fit and so she signed a 6 month contract where she worked an average of 17 hours per week, completing a variety of tasks such as graffiti removal, pressure washing and litter pickups. She worked hard, felt a sense of belonging and she was incredibly proud of receiving her first paycheque ever, describing it as “the best day in [her] life.”
Carol earned it. She was the one who put in the effort, the energy and the sweat. With an opportunity, she came to understand her own value and her own potential.
“I learned that I can be anything I want to be and I’m proud of that,” she says. “I want to make it possible for other people like me to believe in themselves.”
Posted Friday, October 25, 2013
Holding a small model plane up in front of a captive audience, Glenn Oerzen began to describe the physics behind momentum.
“Momentum is mass and velocity,” he explained. “But for tonight we will think of it as strength of character and direction.”
The metaphor was fitting for Mission Possible’s Momentum Award Ceremony held on October 15th at The Imperial. Award recipients were present with their friends, family, coworkers, and supporters cheering them on.
The Momentum Awards is an annual ceremony held to celebrate the hard work and achievements of Mission Possible’s work program graduates as well as exemplary Community Co-Op members. This year, 25 recipients were recognized for both their strength of character and commitment to positive direction.
Cecily Killam (MP Maintenance graduate) and Loretta John (MP Neighbours graduate) also addressed the audience and shared their experiences in the six-month work program with their fellow award recipients. Both women have overcome many personal struggles to achieve the accomplishments they were recognized for that evening. They are just two examples of individuals who have dedicated themselves to taking positive steps forward in their lives and consistently inspire others to do the same.
At Mission Possible we talk a lot about Purpose and Paycheques. At the root of all that we do, however, are undeniably the People – the ones who put in the hard work to make changes and invest in themselves and their community. It was truly an honour to recognize them.