I like what I do. I enjoy the computer work that is necessary to keep Hosanna’s books in order. Writing and producing our quarterly newsletter is a nice change of pace. Dealing with insurance – well that’s just a necessary evil because of the times we live in. Helping out with our special events is fun. Seeking support from foundations so our mission workers can continue doing what they do is an honor and when successful is one of my greatest joys. And, of course, I work with some of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met. The work they do each day on behalf of others is nothing less than amazing. I love to hear their stories.
But, what I love most about my job is those rare occasions that I need to visit the people we help – whether it is to get a paper signed, to meet briefly with one of my colleagues on a jobsite or to lend a helping hand in one way or another.
Last Thursday I got to see some of my favorite people once again. In 2013 Hosanna Industries opened the Terrell Trade Skill Learning Center. This facility was named after one of the great supporters of our mission, Mary Jessica Terrell. She was there when Hosanna Industries was founded almost 25 years ago. She was part of many of our blitz-builds; as the furniture was moved in and curtains were hung Mary made sure the finishing touches were completed with precision, love and care. She served on our Board of Directors. Through our Traveling Teacups program she made sure our loneliest clients received cards and visits. Mary went to be with the Lord recently but while she was here with us she quietly changed lives though Hosanna Industries.
But, I digress. It’s been two years since we opened the Terrell Trade Skill Learning Center. We started then working with a group of young men from Homewood, one of the poorest, most derelict neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. These are tough guys. They have lived with pain and poverty surrounded by drugs and violence all their lives. But they have huge hearts.
I had the opportunity right before Christmas to call a meeting with the guys to tell them about the semester we planned to begin in January this year, renovating an abandoned house in their neighborhood. Every one I talked to expressed their gratitude. One guy, Rich, called me three times in two days to make sure everything was still a go. (They haven’t experienced much reliability and accountability in their lives). Their smiles, hugs, and kind words filled the room when we met. Later one of the guys told me that having another semester was the best Christmas present he got (they don’t have many opportunities to better themselves in Homewood). Last Thursday when I went to the jobsite I went to help get glasses for James. We had taken him to Bissell Eye Care in Gibsonia a while before for an eye exam and now needed to order glasses for him. It turns out I was there the day before his 34th birthday. When I had finished what I needed to do, I ran to Giant Eagle and grabbed some cupcakes. When I walked back into the house where the guys were working and handed James the cupcakes, he turned away from me. He pulled his shirt up to his face and scrubbed back and forth. He looked at me and said, “Why do you this, Miss Julie? Why do you do this for me?”
I didn’t tell James that day. I just smiled and gave him a hug. But I did this because it’s part of my job. I did this because everyone should be treated special on their birthday. I did this because it obviously wasn’t done enough in his lifetime. I did this because it was the right thing to do.
Whatever you do today, take a moment a make a difference for someone else. Give someone a reason to smile, a reason to believe in themselves, a reason to dream of a brighter future.
–Julie Wettach, Mission Worker