Founded in 2012, Operation Jesus is a volunteer organization that provides food, clothing, and care to homeless men, women and children in Chicago. To date, Operation Jesus has mobilized over 300 volunteers and donors from all different backgrounds, and partnered with dozens of businesses and organizations to serve those in need (Photo credit: Jonathan Arciniega, CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE Jr. Media Digital Intern).
By: Linda E. Alberty, M.A.
The next time you think your vision, idea, or individual contribution is too small or too insignificant to impact change on any level, think again. We all have unique gifts and abilities that make us capable of walking in our purpose, and it is most often times connected to fulfilling a need around us. For me, it started back in December 2012. My heart always broke when I saw someone suffering from homelessness. And with the help of a few new friends, I decided to do something about it. We gathered sandwiches, cookies and blankets and piled in a car on Christmas Eve and headed toward downtown Chicago. Back then, it was a small, unorganized, and a chaotic attempt to make a difference.
Today, however, Operation Jesus now lives up to its name: a full operation in Chicago that has attracted and mobilized over 300 volunteers in and out of Illinois over five years. This Palm Sunday, I had the incredible opportunity to witness a miracle in the making: our very first Spring event, drawing another new 50 volunteers who found us online or through our partner organizations. But that's not all ...
That’s when I finally decided to move in a different direction in my approach thanks to my own self-talk and the recommendation of my mentor. I was referred to CULTIVATE EXCELLENCE at the end of December and looking back, I can say the process was more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.
By: Alicia Higgs, MBA
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By: Linda E. Alberty, M.A.
January can be a fun month for setting personal goals despite its chilling temperatures for those living in the Midwest. With the cold dreary month also comes a warm opportunity to reflect on all of our learnings from the year before. It’s a chance to set new goals, change old habits, build a new vision, and yes -- even treat ourselves! It’s newness gives us a chance to reset from the previous years’ circumstances and events and intentionally lean towards the things we desire for our lives.
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... A single, selfless act can inspire a greater, selfless future in 2017.
By: Zach Peterson
Times Free Press, Chattanooga, TN
I pulled three shirts, one sweatshirt, one overcoat, two gloves, one beanie and a pair of thick socks over my body Christmas morning. 10 pieces of clothing, and it still didn’t feel like enough. Chicago hovered around 30 degrees, sending gusts of wind down its long city blocks that day. Normal stuff, apparently. But not for a native Floridian who lives in Tennessee.
For years, my parents had floated the idea of doing Christmas in a big city. We could appreciate the metropolitan cheer, see the snow, donate to the roadside Santas jangling bells for Salvation Army. We could also volunteer, which was our destination that morning. I didn’t know much about Operation Jesus before meeting Linda. I just knew we’d be handing out blankets and food to anyone who had nothing else that icy morning.
After meeting in Chicago’s Union Station, Linda greeted us with a morning prayer and split us into groups. We landed in Linda’s squad with two other families and a couple from Indiana. The instructions were simple: Approach anyone in need, offer them blankets and toiletries, hand them a bag of tacos and tamales, say a prayer if you so desired. Then we departed, a caravan of carolers. Though I can’t remember the city blocks, I do recall the faces.
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