What is the firehouse dream?

This dream was birthed after going to El Salvador last May (2017) with my church, Soul City Church . It was through this 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 begin to help my own community (Maywood,IL).

I started doing research and quickly noticed that there was a high drop out rate,  no grocery stores,  abandoned homes, and so much more. I began to feel the weight of poverty, hopelessness, a loss of identity, and more.

I began to empathize with the young adults, since I was raised by a single mom. I quickly saw myself in their story. It's barely now at 34 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 my 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.

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