"I Believe in You"



LAURA GATANNAH

Behind-The-Scenes, Fundraising
December 13, 2015

Nearly three years ago, when some friends and I started taking lunch to the ReWorkers one Friday a month, I was a single mom without many resources… But I could cook. Fast-forward to a year or so later, I had learned more about the program, had seen it in action, and had remarried. My husband and I decided that we wanted to contribute financially to ReWork because we were both so impressed with the vision and the way that the process itself plays out. It was one of the most genuine and organic “helping” programs either of us has ever seen.

Briefly, ReWork takes up to six people at a time in varying stages of homelessness and teaches them to craft wood into products that they sell on their website and at markets. This provides both immediate income and a life skill to take into the future job market. And that would be enough. However, it only scratches the surface of what makes ReWork truly great.

Director Allison Eskew and the ReWork staff and volunteers have managed to create an atmosphere of camaraderie and trust. The staff provides guidance in so many important areas: spiritually, physically, financially. It’s a safe place to learn, and a safe place to mess up. Sometimes, ReWorkers will disappear into their old lives for days or even weeks… but when they’re ready to come back and try again, they’re welcomed.

As a parent, this is the exact type of home I try to create. Many of the ReWorkers didn’t have the home life I and my kids take for granted, and this might be their first time experiencing the opportunity to rebuild trust and to be given a second chance. Everyone deserves that.

And I suppose that is why my family feels so strongly about supporting ReWork as much as we can: Everyone deserves the chances that, frankly, I lucked into by virtue of being born smack dab in the middle class, with a loving family, and a huge social safety net. I have made ridiculously poor choices in my life, choices that might have lead to disastrous consequences if I hadn’t had friends and family willing to help me, to encourage me, and to let me stay with them for days, weeks, and even months, on occasions. Education was easily accessible for me. I’ve had so many advantages that I can’t begin to pretend I’ve earned. I am hugely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to focus some of the blessings I’ve been given in hopes that others (who work harder than I do and who have so many more obstacles) might know the peace of a productive and contented life.

ReWork has ambitiously doubled their 2015 budget for 2016. $80,000. That’s what they’re trying to raise… and they’re trying to raise it all during these last 25 days of December. As much as it would take a load off of Allison’s mind for some rich person or corporation to write ReWork an $80k check, I think it’d be even cooler if 670 people committed to support in the amount of $10 a month. You know why? Because then the ReWorkers would know that they have a huge tribe of people standing with them, saying in a tangible way, “I believe in you. You can do this. You deserve it.”

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