In A Nutshell:
St. Patrick Center is the largest provider of homeless services in Missouri, with 28 housing, employment, and mental health programs assisting over 9,000 persons annually who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Why They Rock (below is just a taste):
- BEGIN New Venture Center: offers start-up and early-stage companies, as well as non-profit organizations daily business assistance, access to experienced service providers, shared administrative services, guidance from an advisory board/mentor program, marketing assistance and a professional business location.
- Job Experience Training (JET): intense computer skills training program that includes an eight-week training class with stipend followed by a four-week paid internship with a local employer.
- McMurphy’s Grill: first restaurant training program in the nation for homeless, mentally ill clients.
- Rosati Apartments: case management services and housing to 13 chronically homeless men and women in a permanent, supportive housing complex for a year or more.
- Sports Trivia Championship: Annual sports trivia contest which in 2010 raised $864,000 in revenue and contributed goods and services.
I don’t have enough cyber-ink to write about all the positivity at the St.Patrick Center…their slogan says it all: Building Permanent, Positive Change. They are flipping the stereotypes of being homeless and giving attention to the human spirit in a small city within St. Louis, Missouri – enjoy the tour…
Okay, I brag about all my contacts but Kristen introduced me to everybody as if it was an honor for 50Give to stop by; this humble, giving, respectful attitude is their culture. The day started early with a Young Volunteers meeting at a German restaurant (Ireland was neutral so things were cool) where they talked about fundraising events and ways to increase volunteerism…the essence of 50Give, and I was able to dominate an egg & cheese sandwich (dream-day started)!
Zoom, downtown to the St.Patrick Headquarters and I was given the grand tour…similar to the single-shot in Goodfellas where Ray Liotta is taken in VIP style to the Copa, expect I ain’t a gangster and it lasted for 45 minutes! I was overwhelmed with all the programs/facilities: business clothing center, high-tech auditorium, cafeteria equipped to feed hundreds…and equally impressed with the first-class people I met like Marvin of Kreative Concepts who has benefited from BEGIN (program for start-ups). The tour train took a break and I had the privilege to sit in a guided-meditation with 50 homeless participants lead by Anne, a very insightful and calm facilitator…perfect warm-up for my presentation to the JET class (intense computer/employment training).
My topics for the JET presentation included affirmations, giving, and the 50Give tour:
- I am not my mind (the brain is an organ). I AM the Positive Present.
- The present is where I try to live.
- My intuition is my soul.
- Give to give in a positive manner without rewards.
I was so stoked to speak and admired their commitment because they are DOERS and are making a conscious choice to elevate their life…I loved the vibe in the room, you could tell going backwards was not an option – Thank You JET for your inspiration and platform to share.
Off to serve lunch under the command of Dave who runs a great operation feeding hundreds of men and woman via the Casserole Program – (organizations/churches send prepared dishes). I dominated water refill while a group of young professionals took their work lunch break distributing franks and beans…50Give essence again (I need something cornier – Positive Present POW!). After chow-time, Dave and I cleaned up and every other word from his mouth was good job…I was waiting for the Director of this ‘Positive Day Movie’ to yell cut and start yelling – go to Detroit sucker (sorry Detroit…just prefer other movies over Robocop)!
I slid out the building with staff members Kelly/Kristen to eat lunch and host simultaneously at McMurphy’s – a St.Patrick restaurant with a trained homeless staff under the guidance of Nunzio. Channel 4 (CBS) showed up to film me hosting it up, and Stephanie (media guru) was on her A-game and scheduled the anchor from the 10 o’clock news for an interview back at headquarters…back to visit my crush JET!
Cameras back on and JET received a recap of my earlier speech and then I had a one-v-one talk with anchor Larry Conners (smooth operator outfitted in alligator boots). I was elated for the coverage St. Patrick received, the piece outlasted Charlie ‘Tiger Blood’ Sheen by at least two minutes…volunteerism is beating drugs and celebrities!
Ciao tower of positivity and off to meet Josh, the Wikipedia for the Rosati Apartments which is a safe and supportive place for people to ‘start over’, especially for the chronic homelessness. The building is green-cutting-edge (yes, imaginary word), close to the city-center making it easier for employment, and the staff is awesome – shocking.
The Irish marathon ended and I decided to find some green space for a run at Forest Park, a very tranquil spot and then off to my amazing hosts I met on the Cabot Celebrity Cruise (provided 40 philanthropic individuals a complimentary vacation for their services). Phil and Bonnie’s home is like the Smithsonian packed with artifacts from all their world travels and relationships via AFS (American Field Service) – making the world more culturally aware via exchange programs. They are veterans at hosting and took hospitality to a new level with a gourmet dinner, loco photo opportunities, and coffee ready out of the shower…the tour was in danger of a permanent stay in Missouri.
Later that night I opened my St.Patrick ‘swag’ bag filled with goodies and thank you notes…one message hit home from a JET student asking if I read The Alchemist…yes, and I love it – “…tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” Paulo Coelho (author of The Alchemist).
St.Patrick Center takes dreams and transforms them into reality: start a business, a steady pay-check, or finding a place to live. The staff, volunteers, and clients stated they were honored that 50Give picked them as the Missouri stop, and I am very grateful to fuel up on your positivity and spread your love for the human spirit…thank you!
“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally” ~ Eckhart Tolle (for JET )