It started with a passion for bringing healing to our city.
By July 2006, Mission: St. Louis’ Founder and Executive Director, Josh Wilson, had worked with inner-city kids and had seen first hand the effects of poverty; he had seen need. With a dedicated vision to restore St. Louis, Josh started several conversations with his church, The Journey. His conversations led to an internship, which eventually developed into a full-fledge mercy ministry designed to connect The Journey with residents in at-risk neighborhoods.
After a three-month flurry of unfocused volunteer activity, Josh realized that we were doing harm rather than good. Volunteers did not have personal relationships with any of the people they were serving. Everyone involved was burned out. It was time for a change.
The turning point came in the form of a relationship with a local school.
Mission: St. Louis organized a school supply drive for a local school, Adams Elementary. This began a relationship between Mission: St. Louis, Adams Elementary and the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. We narrowed our focus, guided our volunteers, and put all our resources into one specific community. We built relationships in this community and were able to get to know the people and their needs.
Since our start in Forest Park Southeast, we have built deeper relationships with schools, businesses, neighborhoods, churches and organizations. We’ve created and grown life-changing programs for youth to older adults in order to empower people in our city with the tools needed to work their way out of poverty. Our two core programs, Beyond School and Beyond Jobs, are transforming lives. Kids in our Beyond School program are making 3 months reading and math growth for every month in our program. Men in our Beyond Jobs programs have a 75% chance of being employed within five months of graduation.
Today, we’re restoring our city through more relationships like the one we began with.
In September 2016, we started our transition to the North City region, where many people we serve are living. Here we'll be able to continue to learn from and listen to the community we're serving, so we can empower more people to transform their lives, families.
Out of a question of how to best serve a community, Mission: St. Louis has grown exponentially. Not only are we still reading with kids, but we are also offering nearly year-round youth programs like free Summer Camp.
Out of a question of how to best serve a community, Mission: St. Louis has grown exponentially. Not only are we still reading with kids, but we are also offering nearly year-round youth programs like free Summer Camp and an After School program. Our Job & Leadership Training Program is addressing needs for men who are ready to make positive changes in their lives. The Home Repair program connects neighbors and provides opportunities for residents to learn home care and maintenance.
Through our comprehensive relational approach , Mission: St. Louis is empowering people to transform their lives, families and neighborhoods.
The AMP initiative was formed precisely so groups like yours can learn to fight poverty in a relational, empowering way. We invite you to partner with us in this mission and come alongside our staff, volunteers and residents. Roll up your sleeves and join us in transforming St. Louis!