As a former NFL Football player, I know I’m only as strong as the team. And in my first 45 days here as CEO and President, I’ve become in awe of the team here at San Diego Rescue Mission. This staff, the volunteers, the Board… they are all here for the right reasons. And I’m confident that God positioned us together strategically to be a solution for our homeless neighbors.
During these first weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the staff through “All Staff” meetings, one-on-ones and a survey – which by the way, revealed that 74% of our staff said they feel a sense of “calling” to the Rescue Mission. Through these interactions, I’ve learned just how committed the team is. Here are just a few examples:
We have staff members who drive 1.5 hours every day from Temecula/Murrieta, and another who drives 2 hours from El Centro.
We have a program director who worked a 16 hour day (more than once!) because a Residential Advisor (RA) was ill.
Our Children’s Center director has taken our clients’ clothes home with her and washed them in her own washer and dryer.
We had an RA perform chest compressions on a client who was unresponsive until paramedics could get there and give her a diabetes shot.
We had 10 of our Board Members attend the first board meeting with me as president – and 7 attended our clients’ graduation in July.
Just recently, I had a program director show up in my office in tears. She was distraught over a client who had to be discharged from the program due to a code of conduct violation. The director knew that if this individual went back to the streets, it would be the worst case scenario. We sat down, and worked together to see how we could get her back on track – back into the program.
Those are just a handful of examples showing the commitment of this staff. They aren’t doing it for the hours, the pay, or a stress free work environment. They do it for the homeless, hungry and hurting people we serve every day. I’m inspired by the work they do. It makes me want to strive to serve them even better.
Part of my mission in my first weeks here, was to assist in the decision and hiring process for two key positions.
As many of you know, our VP of Programs stepped down a month before I got here. As we conducted interviews to find the perfect replacement, we realized that our strongest candidates were those who already worked here.
We ended up promoting two long time staff members for the roles. I’m so pleased to announce that Jeremy Dawsey- Richardson, formerly Program Director of the Recuperative Care Unit is our new VP of Programs. And James Pope, formerly Men’s Center Director, will be filling the newly created position of VP of Evangelism and Discipleship. This new position is designed to create a greater awareness around the spiritual development aspect of what we do. You’ll be hearing more about Jeremy and James, and their new roles, in the upcoming months.
As discussed in my last blog post “A New Calling Revealed,” I knew God had a plan for me. And what I’ve experienced and seen here in my first 45 days has helped to confirm that I made the right choice. In my 27+ years of ministry, I don’t believe there is a more worthy cause that I’ve ever been associated with.
Not just because we feed and house homeless men, women and children, but more importantly, (and unlike other Government-funded nonprofits) we have the freedom and blessing to talk about faith and God. Together, we work to address issues of the heart and spirit.
Jesus changes lives and that’s the game changer!!