INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to purpose-driven brands and passionate business leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Through creativity and collaboration we leverage market forces to achieve our social mission of creating redemptive employment opportunities for folks transitioning from prison, addictions and homelessness. Working mostly behind the scenes, we are the economic engine that builds business through contract manufacturing, product assembly and order fulfillment. We continually seek out opportunities to grow the collective impact of our community’s economic activity on behalf of our transitional training employees. We emphasize quality, safety and learning in all of our work.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
We are a collection of people from diverse backgrounds working towards a common goal. As a part of Mile High Ministries, we broadly define that shared goal as the “wholeness” or “peace” of our city, Denver. Our slice of this mission is related to reengaging disenfranchised job seekers with employment and life skills training opportunities.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
In 2016, to date, the WorkShop has employed 17 people. The impact on their lives is tremendous—a stable income source, increased social/communication skills, increased confidence, increased job skills, an understanding of how to work in a professional environment, and an increased sense of dignity and value that comes from doing real, important work.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
We feel compelled to use our gifts and talents for the good of other people. We recognize that we’ve all been the recipients of things like grace, mercy and redemption and we love turning around and extending those things to others. We believe God cares deeply about marginalized people and we do too.
We desire to facilitate the holistic growth of every person we employ – mental, physical and spiritual. We want to be a place where nobody is overlooked. Nobody is assumed to be unworthy. Everyone who walks through the door of the WorkShop is given dignity as people created in God’s image.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE?
Our biggest challenge is one shared by most social entrepreneurs – the balance of people and profit. We desire to be the best service agency possible while simultaneously offering an excellent product. It’s not an easy thing to pull off!
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS WHO ARE LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
You don’t have to go far from home to make an impact. In your sphere of influence there are people craving an opportunity to flourish. Find them and empower them.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Support the WorkShop financially! The project aims to be self-sufficient in a few years, but currently relies on the generosity of the community to fund a portion of its activities.
Work opportunities! Do you or someone you know have activities that you could hire the shop to perform? A few examples of the type of work that has been a good fit so far would be sewing bags and pillows in the sewing shop, crafting tables and skis in the wood shop, etching and distributing camera accessories using the laser and packaging and shipping subscription boxes across the US.