This season we at JustWork have much to be thankful for. Generous donors. New staff members. Weddings. Fun events forthcoming. Even gratitude in the midst of death. As you take a few minutes to read through this newsletter, we hope you too will find reasons for giving thanks...
A couple of weeks ago some 20 members of JustPotters and The Potter’s House Studio gathered over a meal to remember and celebrate the life of Tami Lundgren. Tami, who had been an employee of JustPotters for the past 4 years, died unexpectedly in early April.
Those who gathered laughed as we remembered Tami’s generosity with her encouraging words (“those mugs you made today are beautiful!”), her hard work and attention to detail in making sure the studio was a clean place (“let me wash that apron; here is a clean one”), and her courage in the face of many life challenges.
We are glad that Tami had found a place with JustPotters. She was glad for the opportunity to work. Perhaps as much, she was glad to have a place to belong. A place to work and a place to belong – we trust that Tami’s life was impacted in these ways through JustWork—even as we were impacted by her life among us. Our gratitude to God for Tami. She is deeply missed.
Pottery:24 - Join the FUNdraising Marathon!
Many of you participated last year in our first Pottery:24 FUNdraising marathon. It was great fun and quite successful, so we are doing it again - 24 hours of pottery-making on June 16-17 to highlight the goodness of JustPotters and to raise funds for our work!
With your assistance we can introduce JustPotters to hundreds of new people, surpass last year’s mark of $15,000 raised, and make it possible for JustPotters to continue offering meaningful employment to people who want the opportunity to work. (Click on the banner to see how you can tap in and contribute as a Donor, Connector, or ConnectingGroup.)
Staff Comings and Goings
We are excited to introduce our two newest staff members to you: Jeff Dyck and Jasmine Wallace.
Jasmine became our new Manager for JustPotters in March. Jasmine has over fifteen years of ceramics experience (including undergraduate and graduate degrees) and a number of years of experience with customer-oriented businesses. So, we are thrilled by her level of expertise. However, we are equally impressed with Jasmine’s calm, confident presence, and we believe she can help JustPotters continue on a good course.
Jeff joined JustWork on January 1st as one of our two JustWork General Managers. Along with David Holcomb, Jeff will provide leadership for the organisation as a whole, giving special attention to JustRenos. Jeff is well qualified for the task! He is certified as a Journeyman Carpenter and a Building Inspector and has worked on construction projects large and small. In addition, Jeff and his family spent four years living in rural Uganda where Jeff oversaw a Community Project that included schools, medical clinics, and employment opportunities. Jeff’s commitment to supporting people and his strong technical skills make him an excellent fit for JustWork.
But with these welcomes, we have also had to say goodbye. Jasmine took the place of Leigh Wong who recently married and moved to Tacoma, WA with her husband, John. We are grateful for the four plus years of investment that Leigh made in JustPotters – giving her creative energy to help us develop a beautiful line of pottery being sold in Vancouver and across North America. Our best wishes to Leigh in her move.
Also, thanks to Sam Berthoud who prepared the way for Jeff to join us. Sam served as Interim JustRenos General Manager from May through December of 2011. In addition to helping guide JustRenos during that period, he successfully completed the task of finding a permanent replacement. Sam still lives in Vancouver, and he continues to be a big fan of JustWork who is willing to share his extensive experience and large vision for what we can become. Thank you, Sam!
A Very Generous Gift
In March, JustWork received a wonderful gift from the SpencerCreo Foundation. After several months of personal research around the local social enterprise sector, Ken Spencer (co-founder of Creo, a BC high-tech company) and Judy Gale were pleased to support JustWork with this gift that was exactly what we needed. The funding will enable JustRenos to continue on a path of expansion: providing salaries, new equipment, and working capital over the next three years. We are truly thankful for the generosity of Ken and Judy and their confidence in JustWork: "JustWork appears to be a well-managed and thoughtful organization, and your programs are clearly making tremendous, positive differences to the lives of the people you serve. Meaningful employment brings with it respect, dignity, skills development, empowerment and satisfaction. The individual benefits, yes - but so do employers, the community and society."
Along with SpencerCreo, we are thankful for the ongoing support we are receiving from four other foundations: Vancity Community Foundation, the Co-Operators Foundation, the Vancouver Foundation, and the Hawthorne Foundation. Multi-year support from them has given us the time to develop our enterprises and broaden our support from individual donors - something vital for our long-term sustainability.
So as for news, that's it for now... Greetings from the JustWork Team!
Through the development of our social enterprises, JustWork fosters dignified, gainful work opportunities for people facing multiple barriers to work.