I have struggled and been treated
Horrablely. I was put into an r.v. at Austin pecans park ..the better r.v. park would no take me I was isolated In a drug and Crime ridden park paying 500.00 for plot the r.v.got mold and I was incarcerated on a harassment case I called my ex once a week and then found closer by text message . then I was in a better park but I could be evicted for any reason at any time ..and I was ...because I had a wired friends from last r v park. I had no incident and had 5 guest visits I n 7 months I was evicted ...I really hope and waited for community first village ... The art director was let go because she leaked the fact that the land was bought by Jeffery and Deanna worrden why . the premier application was under Ada J.D. Equity and sunshine t.v. park . I really was invested with the art house I made $500.00 $800.00 a month and antisipated the opportunity to grow as an artist with my close artist friends . well I was the first homeless person to move in the floor under my t.v. had been taken out cud the plumbing and no skirting was provided like the model home the as was not adiquit and electric high 117.00$ and I was hot and the lighting bad ..the art house a wonderful art studio and it wa. Run so badly. The 29 year old half a degree so called Art director demanded that products look exactly alike like she wanted and would take the money for supplies out of residents payckech!!! She has a painting of mime printed as an acrilylic 6 prints photomecanical reproductions 2 geclees and a case of cards also Christmas cards and another set of 6 abstracts card set.I was the top seller and still only made 200.00 a month only 2 sets of cards did I give an ok to the rest were with out my permission so my entire 1000.00$ micro industry allotment was used up and no proffessonal supplies were provided paying retail for student grade or ammiture supplies a 15000.00$ grant for ceramics the most labor intensive and narrowprofit margins. The grant was for exccelacens in education and Community building. Well $15,000 and the artist were required to pay double for the clay to cover other ecspences!!! I had actually started a ceramics studio at a nonprofit artist with diabilites but I was not even consulted . formally homeless residents artist that were long-term associated with mlf and the art house were overseen by volunteered that were new has keys ... Discrimination ... The artist are wonderful and my friends and I was evicted and not allowed on the property or I will go to jail .. Over night guest had to be reported and 5 fillers a pop 30 $ if unreported ... At community meeting all the rules and the fine associated with them were the agenda ..when I asked what community building actions mlf were doing they sighted the stoner ranch group that had provided dinners on Thursday evening ..this was independent of mlf and the day I got evicted they came and provided dinners dispute freakish snow and cold there was not one not employee or missional resident .they are heaters that could have been set up but not employees are not go getters at all . the property managers lost my rent check and I had to pay again .. This happened to several residents and drove one to mental hospital. One time I was struggling with all of this and did not want to pay rent I was 2 days late a sheriff came and detained me and 10 data in mental hospital ...I was not a harm to myself or others. I was jailed falsely by the owners of c.f.!v
I would like to share an experience with anyone interested in the inner workings of the program Genesis Gardens which is a branch of Mobile Loaves & Fishes Ministry:
For one year, (2012-2013) I spent 25 hours a week working for the head of Genesis Gardens, let's call him Stephan Bebbardy. During this time, I was hoping to gain a knowledge base for organic gardening and a deeper understanding for the homeless population it supposedly focused on. Instead, I found myself in a deeply troubling environment. On a regular basis, Stephan would let out bouts of rage towards his homeless employees and interns. An explicit example of this consisted of screaming in one's face when a pruning/harvesting was done incorrectly or in an untimely manner. These outbursts continued throughout the duration of my stay and finding guidance/help was non-existent as there is no Human Resources person to inform within the entire organization.
Upon entering this internship housing agreement, I was promised food and shelter in exchange for 25 hours of work a week. In order to receive the foods promised, it took over one month of calling several people within the Mobile Loaves organization to approve this. Stephan failed to inform them that this was part of our agreement which means I went with very little food yet worked like a dog pick-axing, post-hole digging, and other means of very intense manual labor. The housing consisted of a donated, heavily used FEMA trailer near the Bergstrom Airport.
While this program was masked as a gardening opportunity, it was in actuality manual labor. Gardening made up for around 15% of my duties while the rest consisted of literally back-breaking work. I deeply caution any young person or college student looking for a live-in exchange type of situation as this is more of an indentured servitude position.
Along with further defaming a population with little means to fight back, I personally witnessed Stephan waste obscene amounts of resources on a continual basis. Expensive organic transplants hardly have a chance in his hands as row covers are left off and plants go unmonitored/unwatered before they wither in the Texas sun.
As an intern, one of my duties was to help Stephan shop for transplants. We did this several times a season. Planting young crops then watching them die time after time due to harsh neglect is hardly empowering the people doing the planting. The plants that do produce fruit are typically neglected and left to rot in the sun before they have the chance to nourish anything but the soil underneath them. The more disheartening side is there were seemingly no repercussions or concerns for how much money was unnecessarily being spent on these items. The frivolity of his spending was shocking.
A highly disjointed aspect of this organization was the all-around lack of competency in organizing volunteers, and even harder, keeping anyone coming back. For once you're there, you will endure belittlement and constant critique for being less experienced in the garden. In addition, Genesis Gardens had no safety plan or gear regarding the use of dangerous tools such as circular saws, no database of emergency contacts for volunteers, and offered little to no guidance in the proper use of hand and power tools. Any teacher is aware one of the fundamental principles in spreading knowledge is to leave one's ego behind (or at least try!) and begin teaching from a place of compassion. It is my belief ego drives momentum in this organization and Stephan plays God in the equation, leaving many innocent victims to fall in incapable hands.
Perhaps you're now wondering what made me stay so long...
I graduated from The University of Texas last year with a BA in Anthropology. I am hoping to study Ethnobotany in a Doctoral program and thought this a perfect opportunity to experience both Botany and Anthropology. Being an extension of my research, leaving would mean failing 9 credit hours. Unfortunately, this is not a real option for a graduating senior. As a result, I endured through as many people must. The sad fact of the matter is I hardly learned about empowering the homeless or about growing food. This environment is not fit to do so for any length of time.
The biggest lesson I took away is how to fight the everyday menaces of society and empower one's self in the most negative of circumstances. For that, I am eternally grateful.
My general consensus for writing this piece is not to bash or harm any good this organization may be doing. It is, in fact, to send caution to those who may be vacillating between helping Genesis Gardens/Mobile Loaves & Fishes or a competing non-profit organization. It is my strong belief that giving them large sums of money is irresponsible at this point in time. The disorganized manner of things is due to a trickle-down effect from the very top. I have documented cases throughout the year I deem despicable working conditions and made Mobile Loaves & Fishes fully aware. To my knowledge, they did absolutely nothing to correct Stephan's behavior and defended his actions completely without investigating what actually took place.
Thank you for taking the time to read this cautionary tale. The power of words are all some of us have in the feat of defending ourselves and others' in the many injustices we encounter on this journey that is life.
Review from Guidestar
I first volunteered with Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) through my daughter's girl scout troop. Now I am fortuanate enough to work part-time with this amazing nonprofit! When I prepared sandwiches beside the young girls, I was grateful to be able to relieve the immediate hunger of a homeless man or woman. However, it is the human interaction and relationship building between those being served and those serving that truly changes lives. I have seen lives transformed through the MLF Truck and Community First! programs, and I have seen the hearts of hundreds of volunteers changed as well!