Special campaign promotes East Side Pride in St. Paul

| Jennifer Janikula | November 20, 2014 | 0 Comments
Robert Logan helps East Side Pride Exterior Maintenance Company keep sidewalks, alleys, driveways and parking lots free of ice and snow in St. Paul. The company uses funding from the USCCB’s Campaign for Human Development to provide job training and community development services. Jennifer Janikula/For The Catholic Spirit

Robert Logan helps East Side Pride Exterior Maintenance Company keep sidewalks, alleys, driveways and parking lots free of ice and snow in St. Paul. The company uses funding from the USCCB’s Campaign for Human Development to provide job training and community development services. Jennifer Janikula/For The Catholic Spirit

Parishes across the United States will amplify the voice of the poor when they collect donations for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development during Masses on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23.

The annual campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, provides grants to organizations targeting poverty’s root causes, hoping to “break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities.”

After 45 years of dollars, coins and checks in the second-collection baskets, the CCHD has distributed more than $400 million to thousands of community groups across the nation.

Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office of Social Justice coordinates the collection for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Angela Butel, community engagement and leadership specialist for Catholic Charities, said the six locally funded groups are transforming their communities to prevent and end poverty.

“CCHD is a powerful expression of our Church’s concern for the most vulnerable in our midst,” Butel said. “Support for the annual CCHD collection is one way in which we as Catholics can stand in solidarity with the work of these organizations and bring Christ’s love into being in our world.”

East Side Pride

A local beneficiary of CCHD funds, the East Side Pride Exterior Maintenance Company supports the St. Paul community in two ways: 1. It offers reasonably-priced exterior maintenance services to neighborhood residents and business owners, and 2. It provides employment that includes on-the-job training and living wages.

“We are a mission-driven exterior maintenance company,” explained business manager Ja’Na Dickens. “We offer affordable services, and we give our workers a just wage while they expand their skills and gain experience, hope and confidence.”

Dickens develops more confidence every day in her management role at East Side Pride.

Dickens, a mother of four with an entrepreneurial spirit, started working at East Side Pride in January to hone the skills needed to build a successful business. She manages all aspects of the exterior maintenance company, including hiring, sales and contract/account management. She hopes to start her own business in the future.

“I enjoy seeing the business grow and seeing myself grow. I’ve discovered new skills, and I am helping people at the same time,” Dickens explained. “When I venture off on my own, I hope to teach others about leadership and how they can grow their business through sales. I want people to shoot for excellence.”

Grassroots funding

John Vaughn, Dickens’ mentor and the executive director of the East Side Neighborhood Development Company, which owns the exterior maintenance company, appreciates the grassroots emphasis of the CCHD funding.

“No other funding source would make this kind of grant to a small inner-city community organization,” Vaughn said. “We wouldn’t be here without it.”

The CCHD funding allowed Vaughn to pay for many of the start-up costs of East Side Pride like legal fees and insurance. As the exterior maintenance company moves though its first year of operation, Vaughn hopes business will grow and provide a revenue stream for community development projects that rehabilitate east side homes for seniors and low-income families.

This winter, East Side Pride will provide affordable plowing and shoveling services to community members.

For more information about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, visit http://www.usccb.org. To learn more about the East Side Pride Exterior Maintenance Company, contact Ja’Na Dickens at (651) 288-8755.

Learn more about poverty in the U.S. and ways to help end it at http://www.povertyusa.org.

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Category: Local News