The second class of Ascension Leadership Academy’s (ALA) Leadership Program in Austin, TX, rose to the challenge of creating an impactful community service project. We chose to support affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness in Austin.
Over half a million people in the US are experiencing homelessness. Many of these humans suffered a profound catastrophic loss of family and are left feeling hopeless and abandoned with no sense of community. As a result, they struggle without access to permanent housing and physical and mental healthcare. Through its transformative residential program, Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) exists to love and serve our neighbors who have been living on the streets, while also empowering the surrounding community into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.
On our journey to creating a world of peace, love, joy, connection, and freedom, we chose to support Mobile Loaves and Fishes, the visionary organization that created Community First! Village to welcome home those who had been pushed to the fringe of society. As we heard success stories of residents of the Community First! Village, we fell in love with the cause and realized how incredibly impactful this project could be. We became maniacs on a mission committed to ending homelessness in Austin and bringing the community back to those previously left behind.
Our team of only 39 students, and with half of us living in cities across the country, courageously declared to raise $177,757 for Mobile Loaves & Fishes in 26 days. We rallied support from friends, family, local businesses, and corporations. Our campaign touched lives and gained support from people all across the US and other countries as well. We became an unstoppable, united source for the residents and future residents of Community First! Village.
We hosted a “Wizard of Oz” themed live virtual celebration titled “There’s No Place Like Home” to thank our donors, encourage more donations, spotlight Community First! Village, and celebrate the end of the fundraiser. We featured live music performances, a guest speaker from MLF, and completed the silent auction which raised additional funds for the organization.
We hit and surpassed our goal of $177,757 hours before our deadline, with the final donation amount coming in at $184,012! In addition to raising funds for the Community First! Village by Mobile Loaves and Fishes, our team sourced exercise equipment, furniture, AV equipment, and an original painting for their new community center.
Our team is astounded with the impact we created in a few short weeks! When a group of individuals come together and stand as a united source, there is truly no limit to what they are capable of creating in the world.
We want to thank every person who contributed to our campaign and supported our journey. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for each person we met and learned from along the way. Thank you to the ALA community, coaches, leaders, and countless donors that supported us in making a difference for the residents and future residents of Community First! Village.