Do you have someone in yourlife who really inspires you?
*Inspires* meaning they motivate you to do something greater? For Team Silverlake, the individuals working in the non-profit community are constantly inspiring us. These people are trickled throughout the 4 corners of the earth. They are busy feeding the hungry, educating children, keeping families together, encouraging people to follow their dreams, clothing the poor and more.
Jessica was first immersed in the non-profit world on the streets of Los Angeles.
She often found herself making dinner at the Hollywood PATH shelter, distributing new shoes to kids on skid row in DTLA and planting urban gardens on Hollywood Blvd. Not the average non-profit work, but it did spark an interest in understanding and serving the underserved. She met many people who dedicate their whole lives to making the world a better place, and when her family moved to Arkansas, she gravitated toward that same crowd. Phillip Fletcher, founder of City of Hope Outreach in Conway, AR is the perfect example of the type of person who is changing the world through one mobile-home community at a time. Phil grew up in a stable home - which, as Phil points out, is not stereotypical for a African American male. He had huge aspirations to be someone great when he grew up. He really wanted to become a medical doctor. Phil graduated from High School and went straight to college to pursue that big dream. While he was in his sophomore year, his counselor came to him and asked if he would help tutor some low income kids after school. When Phil said yes to this opportunity, he had no clue that his entire life was about to change. That his heart would gain a new passion and desire - to help kids. Phillip changed his major to Ethnic Studies so that he could become a teacher. After he married his wife, Nicolle, they became homeless. Phil recounts many times they were "couch surfing" and bouncing around from friend's house to friend's house until he was able to get a steady job. That steady job was being house parents to six girls. After this chapter in their life was over, he joined the army where he served as officer and then later became a combat officer. He served our country during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. Before that, he had been in Korea for a year. When they moved to Conway, they didn't think this would be where they would settle down. Phil just wanted to become a chaplain and start on his first seminary degree. Little by little, he began to see a need in his community. Phil's motto rings true all throughout City of Hope,
“I serve to make those around me better.”
The cool thing about Phil's story is that he didn't naturally have this burden for people. It was a process. Phil allowed himself to be around people in need, and they revolutionized his heart - "love for people was slowly put in me." Today, Phillip is not only the founder of CoHo, but he daily invests in young people's lives. You can see him at coffee shops meeting with people - dreaming with them about their goals. He recently founded another non-profit organization that is strictly focused on helping people walk out their passion and launch non-profits of their own. When asked why he feels compelled to help others, he replied,
"when someone is helped, and when someone is able to contribute in life, that's one of the most beautiful things."
The best part is that Phillip Fletcher is not the only person we know who is making a difference every day. We can't wait to introduce you to more of these game changers.