Jubilee Services, www.jubileeservices.net, a 501(c)3 non-profit, founded in 2004, serves many of the poorest zip codes in St. Louis, Missouri, including municipalities like Ferguson. Through job training and character development, we help men disconnected from their families rebuild their personal relationships and develop professional skills to lead meaningful lives as leaders in their community.
WHAT WE DO:
Through partnerships with urban churches—who identify and champion potential participants and facilitate mentors from their churches and the business community—we operate Life Bridge Academy. The Academy offers teaching and mentoring, helping our participants develop the character traits and skills necessary to succeed in home, work, church, and community. We also operate a business, Jubilee Services, that provides on-the-job skills in a high expectation, high productivity work environment to our Life Bridge participants. We partner with the business community to provide these capable workers to fill jobs often paying 2-3 times minimum wage (including landscaping and tradesman jobs) as well as engage businesses and their employees in our work.
Antoine Whitney of Ferguson MO spent 6 years in prison for drug related charges. He left prison committed to never going back. He was unable to gain traction to secure work. He joined Jubilee Services and took on all the responsibility we offered which led to him developing problem solving skills to overcome first job related challenges but soon realized the same principles he was applying in our work also applied to his family life, personal growth, Church and community roles. He rose through leadership roles with Jubilee then graduated to work with one of our business partners paying twice minimum wage. He has since entered an electrician apprenticeship program that will lead to pay and benefits of $70/hr when he makes journeyman. More importantly he adopted 2 of his girlfriend's children, married her, and added two children of their own. Antoine now speaks to new Jubilee Services participants and represents us in community events
WHY WE'RE IMPORTANT:
Racial tensions are straining our country as well as our local community. We see a good part of the problem rooted in the cultural differences of economic failure versus success. We make a positive impact by joining people of the right heart on both sides of the issue - quite simply,we strive to create relationships.
HOW WE EFFECT THE COMMUNITY:
We see ourselves as a bridge between very different cultures—those living in generational poverty and those in middle class. Working together, folks from both sides of that economic divide are transformed through our program. Both sides invest themselves in understanding critical cultural differences, take responsibility for things they can change and offer their skills and resources that can have real impact in moving the needle on issues of poverty.
Risk & Challenges
Our goal is to grow our business, Jubilee Services, to be fully self-funding, but we need to raise funds annually to cover about 30% of these costs and all of the costs associated with Life Bridge Academy, our unique training component that other similar businesses don't need to provide to their skilled labor pool. Without this critical training and mentoring, the men from our community find it very difficult to connect with the middle class culture that provides these higher paying and sustainable jobs.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
While meaningful work is so important we see it as a secondary outcome of our work. We value most helping men stand up to their responsibilities to: Children they have fathered and their mother(s), their own spiritual growth, becoming active participants in their Church and agents of positive change in their community.
Last year we were proudest of:
20 graduates, 4 were married, 0% recidivism rate (none of our graduates returned to prison!), multiple participants grew into leadership roles with us, graduates who were serious about our program landed jobs paying $12-15/hr as their "next step" in life growth - for most, this is the first time they landed work paying beyond minimum wage. We have more open job commitments from our employer and union partners than we have participants... proving we don't have a "jobs" problem in our community - we have a STRENGTH OF CHARACTER problem!
We need to expand funding for our work to create a much larger, sustainable platform for these men in these communities to climb out of the pit of poverty.
Do you support women and children?
YES! When we discuss the details of our work with the mothers of the communities we serve and ask them: Is it meaningful to you and your children if the father of your children provides financial support for you and your children, steps up to their role as "dad", becomes a leader in your Church and actively works to improve your community and most importantly marry you? The answer is a YES usually followed by a loud chorus of Hallelujah!
Do you receive government funding
Very much NO. We know the critical issue facing theses communities are character based. For men to make a serious change in their life they need to build significant CHARACTER to overcome generations of noise saying they "can't". We have only succeeded by working with men willing to give their life over to a higher power. We unabashedly support their relationship with Jesus Christ and our principles of success are based on his teachings. Government funding shuts off our ability to do this
What can I do to help?
1. Help fund our growth! 2. volunteer your skills with us to: Teach in Life Bridge Academy, train our men in basic landscaping, help with web based marketing, become a mentor of one of our participants and many more opportunities - we have an open door for anyone called to help! 3. Hire us! Let our pros maintain your landscaping, trim your trees, clean and mulch your beds, have our licensed technicians fertilize your lawn. We are a 4 season landscaping company
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