RicPawloski2

As I pass my first year as the Executive Director of Mosaic Christian Community Development Association, I find myself reflecting on the great and marvelous things that God has done in our ministry in Benton Harbor and the surrounding region as well as the things God has done in my life. It has been a joy to live out God’s purpose in my life and provide a small measure of leadership to an awesome group of people whose hearts are bigger than Lake Michigan.

When I started in the position in March of 2015 I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had many questions and a great deal of concerns too. Would I be able to develop relationships inside and outside the organization? Would I be accepted into the Mosaic family? My background was in industrial manufacturing not retail and service establishments. Would I be able to guide the enterprises into growth? How would God use me to further the mission? Or worse yet, could I avoid doing damage to the outstanding mission that was here when I arrived?

It was clear to me that God had ordered my steps to bring me to Mosaic so my fears and questions were the product of my limited human mind getting in the way of my surrender to what He was about to do. A year later, I have learned more than I have taught, celebrated more than I cried for the lives I have seen transformed, felt joy for those who have made it more than heartbreak for those that slip away and cause us to ask, “Did we do enough?” The good news is that we have celebrated many, many more times than we have cried.

We have celebrated the growth of Jobs for Life (JfL). We have had steady growth in the number of students which has challenged us to deliver the program to more students at the same time. We have faced the challenge of growing our social enterprises in step with JfL in order to provide the on-the-job training that is so key to our participant’s development. We continue to successfully run Café Mosaic, Mosaic Resale and Harbor Shine with high levels of turnover as we have moved over 60 people on to employment in the community. We have been blessed to welcome over 25 new mentors who have done a tremendous job mentoring and encouraging our Jobs for Life graduates and have a great deal to do with their success.

Despite the high levels of turnover, our businesses have grown over 30%. This is due to the tremendous job that our managers have done running their respective enterprises with the turnover and yet maintaining a high level of customer service. We were even blessed to win the Herald-Palladium’s Reader’s Choice Awards as the Best Resale Store and the Best Downtown Benton Harbor Merchant!!

Mosaic has also been honored to have been supported by many area churches, Berrien Community Foundation, Upton Foundation, Whirlpool Foundation, Whitwam Foundation, United Way of Southwest Michigan, many treasured individual donors, volunteers and all of our many loyal customers. Without you and your partnership, we could not make a difference in the lives of the many we serve.

Many other non-profits, companies, agencies and municipalities have partnered with us as we cooperatively assist those in need of opportunity. Created in the image of God, they possess the gifts and skills necessary but through circumstances have struggled to find their “steps to greatness”. Mosaic and its partners have collectively made a significant impact in these lives. As God continues to work through us, we encourage you to become a part of the Mosaic. Volunteer, financially support or pray for us. For more information on all of these opportunities, visit www.mosaicccda.com. Thank you for making my first year at Mosaic CCDA so memorable. I have met many people and made many new friends. I look forward with excitement to what God will do next in our communities in the coming years.