Serendipity – that’s the word that comes to mind when I think about happy coincidences touching our Beth Shalom House of Peace community.
Tabor has been working on a new strategic plan since the spring. We’re taking the time for the first time in three years to examine the big questions around who we serve, how we serve them, and how we can best continue to meet the community’s needs in the future. The process has been invigorating, and later this fall we’ll be ready to unveil a new three-year plan!
As part of the process, we’ve been hosting workshops that bring together staff, board members, and community partners. During one of these workshops we were asked to explore one of our participant’s story in great detail, seeking to understand both her barriers as well as her assets and opportunities. She dreams of being reunited with her children. Her criminal background is keeping her from steady employment. Does this sound familiar? Yes, this particular participant is a resident of Beth Shalom.
And it just so happens that Lenara and I were in the same small group with a friend from the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has been leading a problem-solving group of large employers in the Ephrata/Denver corridor, Red Rose Transit, and non-profits interested in tackling the transportation barrier for would-be employees that reside in Lancaster City. This partnership has had a lot of early success with a pilot shuttle that is connecting motivated workers to living wage jobs. I asked my colleague from the Chamber if we could make some connections to this project for the women of Beth Shalom. Within a week, the Beth Shalom participant had an interview lined up at a large produce distributor! We don’t know yet if she got the job, but we do know the power of this serendipitous exchange – and the underlying partnership - in opening the door to opportunity and stability.