We interviewed Ava Simmons from My Beloved Ministries at our last educational workshop. Unfortunately, the sound wasn’t great. So here’s a transcription of the interview.
Adam: Who are you and briefly describe your nonprofit.
Ava: I am Ava Simons. The non-profit that I’m CEO of is My Beloved Ministries which is an employment agency, a food bank, and a boarding home. And most of the people who come there have been broken by the society and we try to rebuild the person to be productive in the society by helping him find a job or volunteer to enable them to continue to grow in their path.
Adam: How long would you say you have been with your organization?
Ava: I had my current position since December first. I volunteered as a clerical assistant for about a year. However, My Beloved Ministries has been in business since 1983.
Adam: What are some of the challenges you face in your nonprofit?
Ava: Challenges I personally face? One. I personally didn’t know much so I’m just trying to keep it running while she’s gone, but finding the resources to reach out and finding the funding because the food bank that we have, people can’t come to in. We have to deliver it and priming that gas and some place to help us maintain the cars and we we’re to replace the cars and as well as to— I had to learn how to reach out to businesses and contact them for the employment agency, finding resources for clothing and like shampoo, conditioner, stuff like that. It hasn’t really been that much of a challenge but how to help a person come up with their deposit money to their Apartment or even…
We had a family in just recently. They were homeless. The mother and two kids received $475 from TANF. They went homeless just this last new storm. They were really good friends, but between the two of them, they make $800 a month. The rent for that room is just $600. So they’ve been having a difficult time, because we’ve been trying to figure out how to help them, so that they can keep a roof over their head because they can’t afford child care. So they really can’t afford to go get a job.
And it’s been very— because there are such long waiting lists and just trying to find this work that would help them now! right now those two families or the two mothers and two kids are sharing the room and that in itself has been a struggle. They’re OK with it to keep a roof over their head and that way, each one of them pay $300 a month. They were friends when they came in, thats still growing, and one is able to go to work the other one watches the kids. But it’s very difficult because there are such long way for [unintelligible 03:32], even for the shelter, even for just looking for evidence. And that’s a big part of our struggle on the home, and it’s repaired and just thinking because everything is expensive.
Adam: Is there any product or service for nonprofits, you wish existed that doesn’t exist?
Ava: I don’t know how to answer that. I’m sure someone here is able to, I’ve been very appreciative to this program because it’s taught me a lot about what I do know, and it’s helped me just to be able to figure out how to manage.
Adam: What would you say you got out of today?
Ava: Today was really great because I am having to learn how to do the funding, the grant running, the marketing and she gave me some really good ideas. Am really getting resources to connect into, as well as other team members tuning me and giving me sites to go to, to consistently look at when I hit that road block. It gave me skills and tools of how to overcome the mountain before me. And I really think this program in itself is doing just to help everybody, in every way reach out so we can all share information.
Adam: Thank you very much.
Ava: Thank you.