What is the firehouse dream?

This dream was birthed after going to El Salvador in May of 2017 with my church, Soul City Church . It was through this vision trip where I learned about a non-profit called Enlace . Enlace partners with local churches to create lasting change in their own communities. They teach and empower them to know they can be the change and help meet the needs of their neighbors. Their passion and in-depth knowledge of who specifically needed help in their own community spoke volumes to me. So much so, when I came back home, I asked God how I could partner with him to be more involved in my own community (Maywood,IL).

So I started doing research and quickly noticed that there was a high drop out rate at our local high school, there are no grocery stores, we have lots of abandoned homes, and so much more. The more I learned about Maywood’s history I felt the weight of poverty, hopelessness, a loss of vision, and more.

I began to empathize with the young adults, since my story may share some similarities in being raised by a single mom in a low income home. It's barely now at 35 years old where I see how God has connected the dots of my story, and is using everything that was meant for bad, for His good. Looking back I see the influence of my high school teacher, Mr. Bullen, and how it was through his encouraging words that I decided to become a photographer. His words gave me the hope to believe I could be more, and that I was actually good at something. If it wasn't for him I don't know where I'd be today.

So, I began wondering what would it look like if we had a space to host events and workshops, where I, along with other creative boss friends, taught creative skillsets like photography, graphic design, video, podcasting, handlettering and more, partner that with financial literacy, such as how to budget, save, and business plan while being trauma informed. I began to see how teaching a skillset could provide opportunities for these young adults to not only make an income, but find something they are passionate about, and not only survive, but thrive.

How do I know this can work….well because it did for my husband, Jeremy and I. While we value higher education, in the creative world you don’t really need a degree to earn a living. We are living examples of what it could look like to learn a skillset, and make an income off it, especially in our technology driven world. What we didn’t have or know when we first started was how to manage money or have an understanding in how trauma would influence or affect how we would value our services. Through our own individual healing processes and wise friends, we are learning to overcome poverty mindsets, and so much more.

And so friends....this is what THE FIREHOUSE DREAM is!