The following is the story of one of Children’s HopeChest’s employees, Steve Martin.
I started working for Children’s HopeChest just over one year ago. Since my undergraduate education, I have wanted to work for this type of nonprofit organization; however, for many years, the world seemed to have other plans for me. After working in IT support for several years, I came across a job opening at HopeChest in the IT department and wondered if the Lord had brought me full circle back to my passion, through a route I did not anticipate.
I applied for a job at HopeChest in October of 2019. Three months later, I had not yet heard back from HopeChest, yet I knew it was time for me to leave my current position at my IT company. I felt the Lord tell me it was time to step out in faith and allow Him to take care of me. The environment at my current company became unhealthy, so I quit, and I knew I needed to trust the Lord. One week later, I found myself sitting in an interview with four amazing HopeChest employees, and the next day I was offered the position of Operations Specialist.
It would be absurd for me to claim that my first year of employment at HopeChest was exactly like I had expected. I started with learning the organization’s software system, then re-learning a new version a couple of weeks later. In my second month, COVID-19 brought lockdowns and moved most employees to working from home. Part of my job is processing sponsor/child mail, which COVID-19 also forced us to revamp, including how to utilize volunteers that could no longer assist in-person.
The last major unexpected event came at the end of April 2020. The IT support for the software that was used by our overseas staff came to an abrupt halt. Because of this, we were forced to quickly find, train, and build a replacement solution in just a few months. This also required someone from the U.S. office to travel overseas to train our staff on this new software. Although I love to travel, I was not expecting to be that person, and I was certain it would be Chris, the head of the IT department. As it turned out, Chris was not available to travel during that period and so the honor fell to me.
Traveling on behalf of Children’s HopeChest is not typically part of the IT department, and while I was hoping to one day get the chance, this opportunity was a blessing that I did not anticipate when I started a year earlier. My day-to-day role at HopeChest rarely involves working with our overseas staff. Most of my work is directed toward supporting our U.S. staff and partner communities. I help Community Partner Managers with reports, process new sponsorship packets, and occasionally support our finance team.
My perspective on what our staff does at each CarePoint was simply conceptual. You could say I had knowledge of what occurred at CarePoints, but I did not yet feel the significance of the work. During this trip, I got the opportunity to train over 70 CarePoint and country office staff members in Ethiopia and Uganda. For the first time, I caught a glimpse of the significance of HopeChest’s work, well beyond the 20 or so U.S. staff members.
I was honored to shake hands, hug, and get to know those who are directly impacting the children and communities we work with. Our mission had now become very real to me. I was able to visit about eight CarePoints during this trip. The passion, desire, and drive that I felt among our staff to make real and lasting impacts on the children and communities was far beyond what I had imagined. They dream big and constantly desire to expand projects that donors have helped get started.
Lessons taught at the CarePoint for saving, investing, running a small business, and farming are being utilized and even carried into the community beyond just the children. The impacts being achieved at the CarePoints could be seen, heard through testimony, and felt through the joy and smiles of nearly everyone we interacted with. We, as a community coming together, are making an impact—sponsors, HopeChest Friends, donors, U.S. staff, and even the IT team.
Because of this trip, I can now see clearly, when I run a report, or help with a computer problem, it’s more than just for the person in the cubicle next to me. It’s also for a child learning to sew, practicing baking, or getting needed medicine. The happiness and kindness shown to me by our staff and the children in Ethiopia and Uganda are now a constant reminder of the importance of my work and why I love working for HopeChest.
Are you interested in joining the HopeChest team, or do you know someone who would be a good fit? We are hiring for several open positions, and many of them do not require applicants to live in Colorado. Read the job descriptions and apply today!