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LIGHTHOUSE INC
July 30, 2012

As a current youth pastor in the suburban west Cleveland, OH area I recently took part in a mission trip that combined my group of teenagers with a group from a church in Kentucky. During the week we helped work on two homes that Lighthouse, Inc. has restored on Cleveland's west side. One of these homes is occupied by the organization's executive director who has intentionally planted himself and his wife in the community in order to both understand the needs of his neighbors and build relationships. On one of the days we helped move in a young couple who is also intentionally going to live in the community in order to serve others. This new development in Lighthouse, Inc.'s efforts in Cleveland is particularly exciting and seems to be paying instant dividends as through working at the home for the new couple we were able to meet the neighbors who even helped out. We then had the pleasure of taking part in a community block party at the home to introduce the couple to their neighbors. This was well attended and is only the first of many things this couple will be doing to get to know those they are called to serve the needs of. We also had the chance to participate in Heaventrain, the longest standing ministry that Lighthouse, Inc. does. During the day we were able to interact with close to 750 children despite the rainy conditions. In seeing the efforts they are making and being heartbroken for the community, we decided to pass on one of the end of the night fun activities we had planned in order to free up more money to invest in to our work projects rather than go to a Cleveland Indians game. Lighthouse not only does a good job of stretching the resources they are given, they do a great job committing to getting to know those they serve so that they can identify what needs are most pressing and how to best address them. I would highly encourage calling to check out Heaventrain firsthand and I look forward to working with them more in the future.

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More feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

They have demonstrated to me that there is hope for restoring a hurting city but that in order to serve someone best, you have to first get to know them and develop a relationship with them.

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I helped restore a house and then move in a young couple who is intentionally living in the community to serve it.

LIGHTHOUSE INC
November 28, 2011

I'm a suburbanite born and raised. I spent my first 19 years as a fan of Cleveland, but I thought downtown was what the city was. It wasn't until I started working with Lighthouse, Inc. that I began to get to know the city and truly fall in love with it. For me, Lighthouse provided the platform to engage with the world around me, right in my back yard so to speak.

I started off working with Heaventrain, the flagship ministry where Lighthouse, Inc. was born. It was a humble ministry in the beginning, decades ago, and while it has grown into a living breathing organism at work in the lives of over a thousand children, it remains a humble ministry that is humbling to be a part of. Each week children get the opportunity to worship God and learn out of the scriptures before being fed a lunch that in some cases might be one of only a couple they get on the weekend away from school. The Heaventrain ministry is also the most visible element to Lighthouse, Inc. in the public eye and provides the most welcoming opportunity for a prospective volunteer to decide whether they want to minister to the Central community. Whether one wants to volunteer every week of operation or simply one time, all are welcome so long as they come with open minds and hearts.

My involvement with Lighthouse, Inc. also extended into some of the more behind the scenes functions of their ministry as I was brought on as a summer intern for several summers while home from college where I was a theology and ministry major. I was given the opportunity to work with partnering organizations such as CMHA and the Cleveland City Stars soccer team to put together events for the young people of the community and foster relationships that helped consolidate the resources to be utilized for the good of the community.

Finally I was afforded the opportunity to oversee the lunch program that worked in tandem with a summer tutoring program at various locations around the city of Cleveland, including those on the Heaventrain route. While it is not always the case, many children are unable to eat enough every day once the school year ends as they are beneficiaries of a free lunch program that provides their lunch during the school year. Lighthouse's involvement with this government funded program allowed several hundred children the chance to have a safe place to come learn and play, but also eat a healthy meal.

That is a general summary of my involvement with Lighthouse, Inc., a non-profit organization that I have grown especially fond of and continue to have an interest in. While they provide a learning environment and healthy meals for children in the area, their most significant contribution is undoubtedly the awareness they bring. This is a two fold element as volunteers are made aware that the inner-city is not a place, a stereotype, or an idea, but a group of individual people who are deserving of not only the love bestowed upon them by organizations such as Lighthouse, Inc., but of meaningful friendships with the volunteers whose initial curiosity in those they serve often turns into a vested interest in the lives of those they truly call friends.

Lighthouse, Inc. has existed for several decades and has done incredible things with limited resources. In recent years opportunities and additional resources have become available to them and while they are in the process of establishing the infrastructure to most effectively utilize those opportunities and resources, Lighthouse, Inc. has never squandered what has been given to them because they do not serve a cause, but rather they serve real people who have real needs and real struggles. As they move forward as a organization I have full confidence that they will not only make use of what is given to them in a responsible manner, they will always work to maintain a presence in the community in order to gauge the pulse of its residents in order to effectively meet the needs that are present. They are worthwhile of each of our individual resources, be it financial or simply our time. Definitely an organization that everyone should take an up close look at.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the developmental impact that it has made on young people in the community as well as teenagers who have come to volunteer.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not seek to make any. The organization makes the most of the resources entrusted to it so it's growth and continued impact in the community will be dependent on continuing to develop the organizational infrastructure (i.e. establishing a larger staff, further defining the specific focus of the organization in the community) and being entrusted with more resources that allow Lighthouse, Inc. to take on projects without spreading themselves too thin.

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

My volunteer experience has been very positive, but creating a system that engages new groups might be beneficial. Creating a platform for creating awareness about the ministries Lighthouse, Inc. runs as well as volunteer opportunities would help new volunteers get involved on a more regular basis.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

I learned to get involved as a volunteer because of the real needs of real people rather than the idea of charity. It is a lot easier to stay interested and active when you know there is a friend of yours who might have to go to bed hungry or not be afforded some of the advantages others might be.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Very encouraged about the redemptive struggle that is taking place in the world around me. There are a lot of needs everywhere in the world today but all is certainly not lost and there are wonderful things happening everyday. Sometimes they are small and almost impossible to see, other times they are huge. The important thing is that there is progress.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Volunteered for Heaventrain; oversaw the Summer lunch program; coordinated events with partnering organizations on behalf of Lighthouse, Inc.