How would you describe the help you got from this organization?
How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?
How do you feel you were treated by this organization?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
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.
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.
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.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
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?