Faith and Work Enterprises is launching an innovative, holistic job readiness program helping men gain transferable workforce skills and invaluable hands-on experience, which allows them to secure meaningful work and move forward in building healthy lives and communities. This Christ-centered program will help men (ages 18-31) in and around the Sandtown neighborhood of West Baltimore, the neighborhood that was home to Freddie Gray, and whose death sparked the uprising in 2015.
The zip code that encompasses Sandtown ranks among the highest in the state for its rate of incarceration, the economic engine is a robust drug trade. More than 50% of families live below the poverty line and the Hardship Index is reported as 80, compared to an index of 51 for Baltimore City.
The goal is to prepare men with previous housing instability, non-violent ex-offenses, drug abuse and mental health issues to overcome barriers, improve overall sense of wellbeing, and connect them to regular, livable wage employment and for the men to be holistically healthy enough to deal with the challenges of such employment and with life in general – as well as to provide a place/community of support even after their “program” is complete.
We are seeking to raise funds that will provide
direct support for 50 men to complete this program.
Faith and Work Enterprises has developed a 10-week, comprehensive and holistic Christ-centered program that far surpasses any other program being offered in Baltimore City. Other programs in Baltimore City serving this population extend from a short 2 days to 3 weeks and provide no follow up support.
Faith and Work Enterprises will utilize the Jobs for Life™ curriculum to address the men’s health and well-being in the areas of career, social relationships, finances, physical/mental health, and community service through spiritual growth, supporting them on the journey toward new life goals. We are providing practical working experience through the associated social enterprise of Pennsylvania Avenue Chocolates™, a small chocolate candy bar factory where the men will participate in all aspects of this small business.
Taking sales orders
Producing the bars
Cleaning and sanitation of the production area
Packaging and shipping
The chocolate bars will be sold through fundraising campaigns with congregations, schools and other 501(c)(3) organizations, benefitting these groups with a portion of the proceeds. The remaining proceeds will flow back into the the job readiness training program, providing funding to support approximately 45% of the annual budget.
We received advance funding to renovate a leased facility, creating classroom space, a small office and the chocolate candy production area. The classroom will also provide space for a mission church planting effort to develop a congregation that will provide an ongoing spiritual nurture for the men, their families, and the local community.
PROJECT GOAL is to raise $15,740 for 10 men to complete the program
STRETCH GOAL #1 is to raise $37,500 for 25 men to complete the program
Our BIGGEST STRETCH GOAL is to raise $75,000 and provide direct support for 50 men to complete the program!
$1,500 provides a full scholarship for one man to fully complete the program
$750 provides a half scholarship for one man
$150 provides scholarship for one week of training
$50 provides scholarship for one day of training
$25 provides scholarship for a half day of training
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us – yes,
establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17
Significant employers in the area are showing strong early-stage interest in the mission and program design of Faith and Work Enterprises:
We have sought out employers who will assist the men in developing a career track, and not merely a "job." Several of these employers have offered to be part of a roundtable experience where the men can hear about workplace positions and learn what an employer is looking for in a prospective employee. Some will take part in mock interviews to prepare the men for this step in their career process.
Through a month of outreach in the community we are already seeing young men show great interest for Faith and Work Enterprises. These young men are eager to take hold of the possibilities for employment and improvement of their life circumstances as a result of the training.
In contrast to the drugs and violence normally in the news, many in the community are encouraged about young men being trained and mentored for dignified work, and there’s excitement about the candy bar and it being a demonstration of something beautiful and positive coming from Pennsylvania Avenue. Young men who have only known the street hustle are beginning to make effort in their appearance, language and consistent follow through of small requests.
We anticipate men being positively impacted by being immersed in an environment of God’s grace, hearing their value, discovering their strengths, and having a community of support to encourage their journey of transformation. We look forward to seeing men gain employment or go on to additional training and certification opportunities in preparation for meaningful work. In the longer term we anticipate that families will not only experience the benefits that come with regular employment, they will also experience and improved sense of wellbeing from the holistic approach aimed at impacting career, relationships, financial and physical health and investment into the community.
January 2016: Partnership and fiscal sponsorship established with Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland to establish Faith and Work Enterprises.
Jan - Dec 2016: Early stage funding secured with the partnership of LCMS Stand with Your Community Grant, LCEF Kaleidescope Grant, Southeastern District LCMS, St. John’s Lutheran Church in Farmville VA and the blessing of mentorship from Wockenfuss Candies in Baltimore.
May 2017: Incorporated as Faith and Work Enterprises, Inc.
May-Oct 2017: Developed ministry model; Developed chocolate bar design and packaging; Worked with architect to design space according to Health Codes
Oct 2017: Submitted application for 501(c)(3) to IRS; Outreach and intake for Cohort 1 begins
Nov 2017: Submit application to Maryland Department of Health for review and approval; develop a network of additional supportive agencies and a system of Referral Support Services
Nov 2017 - March 2018: Renovation of 1824 Pennsylvania Avenue; Hold pre-launch cohort in the Baltimore City owned recreational facility located across the street; refine curriculum; cultivate employer connections and identify potential employment positions; chocolate sales begin through fundraising campaigns with schools, churches, youth groups and sports teams; ongoing outreach and intake for future cohorts
March/April 2018: Conduct orientation for first in-house cohort; Cohort 1 Jobs for Life program and practice working experience; set up, test and begin chocolate production;
June 2018: Cohort 1 résumé preparation, practice interview session, prepare job applications; graduation and employment celebrations; orientation for Cohort 2
Dream Big! This stretch goal will provide funding for 25 men to complete the program.
DREAM EVEN BIGGER! This stretch goal will provide funding for 50 men to complete the program.