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Showing posts from February, 2011

Blessings on the Side of the Road

I have a friend who sometimes stops to help motorists stranded on the side of the road. He carries enough tools in his car to handle basic roadside mechanical issues. And if he can’t solve the problem, he assists them in finding help. Somewhere in his time with the stranded motorists, he always mentions, “If you had known me ten years ago, I would have never helped you.” That statement always draws an inquisitive question, “What do you mean you would have never helped me?” My friend then shares how a decade ago he was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was only interested in his own selfish pleasure and goals. “I wouldn’t have even noticed you stuck on the side of the road. But then I met Jesus and things could never be the same.” He tells how God cared for him when his own life was broken down on the side of the road. And now he wants to share that love with others. I thought of my friend’s roadside activities as we explored the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5

The Sweet Smell of Ex-Offender Success

The North Lawndale Employment Network provides an innovative answer to the problem of ex-offender employment with its Sweet Beginnings urban honey business in the Chicago area. This social enterprise hires formerly incarcerated individuals to harvest honey and manufacture a line of honey infused skin care products. Program employees train in the areas of landscaping, beekeeping and food processing and then transition into jobs in the community. The program has been able to achieve a 4% recidivism rate, far below the national average of 65% and the Illinois average of 55%. Learn more about this program by viewing the the ABC7 Chicago segment below. Or visit the web site at www.sweetbeginningsllc.com to purchase raw honey and skin care products.

Unifying Divided Lives Through Urban Business as Mission

It’s probably one of the toughest tasks in Christian spiritual development to unify all the parts of our life towards following Christ. Over the years, I’ve met many Christian business people who struggle with the feeling that their Sunday life has very little overlap with their Monday life. Or they have the nagging sense that being a Christian in the workplace means more than just sharing your faith. Yesterday, I heard about a businessman who’s been searching for a way to unify his work life and his faith walk. He’s been asking for friends to pray for the ability to expand his sprinkler business by two positions this spring. He has a desire to hire two individuals rebuilding lives, train them in sprinkler repair, and actively mentor them in life. At Belay Enterprises , we have a goal of incubating businesses to create 750 jobs in five years for people rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness, or prison in the Denver area. But this goal would be much too low, if Christ-fo

Homeboy Industries Introduces New Supermarket Product Line

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Faith venture Homeboy Industries has started manufacturing a line of chips and salsa which has become the fastest selling snack item at Ralphs Delis in Southern California at profiled in an article in the Los Angeles Times . The organization is hoping that this new product line will help it to continue to grow back from its near financial disaster during the recession. It's fantastic to see how several faith ventures are thinking creatively in the area of nitche food products to leverage their social mission appeal to develop new revenue streams.

The Sweet Spot of Recycling

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God smiles when we take throw away stuff and use it to employ individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. Since 1995, Belay Enterprises has started four faith ventures to employ individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness or prison. We are in the process of incubating several new projects towards our goal of creating 750 jobs a year by 2016. Over the last 16 years, we have been most successful achieving our goals in the business ventures that include a recycling component. There is a definite sweet spot of results when we use society’s throw away items to create opportunity for those in our community deemed unemployable. If you’re considering starting a business as mission to employ individuals coming out of prison, it’s well worth your time to explore recycling as a business opportunity.

Vanderbilt Students Open Triple Thread Apparel to Employ Ex-Offenders

While volunteering at Dismas House , a Nashville transitional program for ex-offenders, Kyle McCollom , a senior at Vanderbilt University, noticed the importance of employment to the successful transition of ex-offenders. He also discovered how difficult it was for ex-offenders to find jobs. So Kyle McCollum led a group of students from Vanderbilt in partnership with  Dismas House to open Triple Thread Apparel , a faith venture that employs ex-offenders in a t-shirt screen printing business. It's well worth the time to watch an excellent profile of program by ESPNU. McCollom persuasively makes the case for the creation of businesses to employ ex-offenders transitioning back into society. ESPNU SEC Weekly featuring Triple Thread from Triple Thread on Vimeo .

Future Faithventure Fund: Partnering to Create Denver Area Ex-Offender Jobs

Successful ex-offenders are employed ex-offenders. The top indicator of a future free from incarceration for an ex-offender transitioning back into society is employment. But most employers will not hire ex-offenders. This reality forms the foundation for the Belay Enterprise mission of partnering with the church to create businesses that employ and job train individuals rebuilding lives from prison. Over the past 16 years, Belay has incubated four projects that have hired hundreds of individuals. Last year alone, our businesses employed 75 people rebuilding lives. At different points over the years, we have set various goals of incubating x number of businesses in the future. But we realize more and more that this is not enough. If we are going to positively impact recidivism rates in Colorado through employment, we have to think bigger than ourselves. Over the next 5 years, Belay Enterprises is aiming to create 750 employment and job training positions a year. By focusing on