Each and every person on this planet is unique.
Like you, it seems like each day I’m approached by someone in a parking lot or confronted by the stark reality of standing on a corner with a cardboard sign. Some days it seems there are too many to count and after a while, or in the sum of so many days, it’s easy to ignore the person.
If you find yourself looking the other way or continuing to walk by someone who wants to relieve you of some loose change in your pocket – there’s hope. In fact I have found in talking with people that keep on walking, it’s NOT because they don’t care for someone in trouble, or that you are without feeling or compassion. No. If you’re like the hundreds of folks I’ve talked to – you simply don’t know what to say or what to do. The need of so many can be overwhelming.
God in His genius, when thinking about creating you and me, was obviously thinking about how each of us would be different. He thought about how we would be able to identify one person from the next. So He gave us unique identifiers; eyes, ear lobes and fingerprints. Each of these are unique and not alike any one other person.
Why was it important to God that none of us could be copied, mimicked or confused with anyone else? I’ve always personally believed God wanted us to know that every day when we got up and looked in the mirror we saw His genius in putting us together. That we are not a mistake. That we were thought about by Him as the foundations of the world were framed.
It is the very notion that the uniqueness of each man, woman and child arriving at Cherry Street’s doors is deserving of our very best service.
By the time people arrive at Cherry Street, so much about the life experience has told them they’re worthless, that there’s nothing unique about them. Life has taught them too well that they are now reduced to a label; homeless, impoverished, felon – and far worse.
When you support a worthy organization, and thankfully in our region there are many, as a volunteer or financially, you are telling people in trouble something vastly different than what they’ve heard so far. You tell them they are loved. You tell them that their existence, though marred and battered by poor decisions is vital and able to be redeemed. And yes, you tell them they are unique – not just a number.
At Cherry Street we’ve been answering YOUR call to help in times of trouble, for nearly seven decades. We stand where you need us to stand and do the thing you hope gets done. Two years ago, with much hope and some trepidation, the former Macomber Vocational School was purchased by Cherry Street with the original intent to consolidate as many of our 16 facilities as we could.
However, as projects do, we allowed our original intent to expand onto a new and dynamic horizon with this question; What if we as a community could build an adult vocational school with accredited partners that lead to employment? Presently, and we hope to add more, our four vocational partners for adults are; PENTA, TPS, Northwest College and Owens College.
I’m happy to report that after two years of honest labor and good ol’ fashioned bravery our first four schools will open in January and February of 2016 – at the writing of this letter, just a few short weeks away. We’ll start with auto tech, a medical training wing, CDL and forklift schools. Later in 2016 we’ll add building trades, culinary, machine and welding schools. Every one of these schools is sponsored and supported in some way by local employers and businesses who have pitched in to make the building ready and provided financial support.
I’ve often referred to this project, now the Life Revitalization Center, as a bridge. This bridge spans the gap standing between people who want to work and go home to people who want them to work and need them to come home.
One day, not too many days from now, when you see a person standing on the corner with a sign, you’ll be able to hand them a card that reads;
I support you through Cherry Street’s
Life Revitalization Center
You can go home from there
President and CEO
Cherry Street Mission Ministries