Trent does good work.
He is the Director of Development at Victory Mission, a faith-based non-profit that focuses on long-term reconciliation, rehabilitation, and re-entry into society.
“Except, I don’t really think of myself as the director of development. There is a great team of people around me. Janelle, Jim, Sam, and Mindy do a lot of work so I can focus on thinking how to move forward. I’m always asking the question, ‘How do we really help people effectively?’ I don’t want to secure funds to build programs that hit walls like the ‘Cliff Effect’ or perpetuate what others term the ‘culture of poverty.’ To be honest, I don’t even know how I feel about that term ‘culture of poverty.’ In theory, it gives us a lens for trying to categorize behaviors and risk factors that we can respond to. But I often fear these systems of categorization make it easier to see people as ‘other,’ make it easier to judge them. I want to see the reality that acknowledges the adversities they have faced and the unhealthy behaviors that need to be revised to create a healthier future. Substance abuse addiction is complex and I am glad we added Rachel, a substance abuse counselor, and Kevin, a PLPC to the team. Fortunately, for me, I don’t have to have it figured out. Jason, our Executive Director, has a strong vision for using outreach to build relationships of love that integrate people into the restoration part of the ministry focused on helping people build self-efficacy, grit, financial stability, and resiliency.”
It took me a second to process that.
Trent’s written grants for the last several years and taught collegiate classes on social policy and enterprise. This fall, he’ll teach a class on philanthropy; I’m thinking about trying to sit in on it. I asked if he knew of any grants or resources for people who play catch.
“I haven’t seen any,” he said with a smile.
Sometimes it’s hard work blazing a new trail.
Victory Mission is getting ready to launch a new coffee project, the Victory Coffee Company, that will help continue to develop a wrap-around system.
“Victory Coffee Company is a subscription model coffee company that’s supportive and extends grace for those who work there. On June 26, we’ll be unveiling the coffee at Brick and Mortar and you can come and sample it and buy your first pound. Proceeds will help sustain the program, covering licensed mental health care, skills training, case management, and a paid wage of $10 an hour while they go through our program.”
I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped at this point as I was incredibly impressed with the creative vision and details of the project. And then when he mentioned Karl Barth as a guide, doing theology in public with a “Bible in one hand, newspaper in the other,” I knew I needed to visit with Trent more.
Then Trent started asking questions. “So, how is playing catch fitting in with your theology, with your M.Div.?”
Turnabout is fair play. I threw a knuckleball while I searched for words. I landed on G. K. Chesterton.
“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.”
“What are your big dreams for 2018?”
“I find a lot of my personal identity in my job, probably more than I should. I want to do good work and do it effectively. Social enterprise is what I feel will do the most good, I’m hoping it really sticks. My goal is to see more success in social enterprises at Victory Mission.”
“If your van is the Millennium Falcon, are you Han Solo or Chewbacca?”
I’m still trying to think of a good answer to that one.
Trent concluded, “I really think God works with us to do good in this world, and there’s great freedom in that.”
Tip of the hat to Trent and Victory Mission for the amazing work they do.
Click here to learn more about the incredible work of Victory Mission.