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Life & Work with Caitlin Ewing and Jessica Johnson of St. Charles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Ewing and Jessica Johnson. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Jessy was moved to start The Love Mission, motivated by a combination of three quotes. The first is Mother Teresa’s quote: “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Understanding that when we hope to change the world, we need to start with the people around us and our communities. Second, Mr. Rogers’ advice when things are hard, “When I was a boy & I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” This reminds us that when times are hard, we can focus on the positive – the people in the trenches helping those in need. The third motivator was a story Martin Luther King Jr. shared of a young white girl who wrote him following an assassination attempt where it was known if he had sneezed, he would have died. The young girl wrote him and stated she was grateful he didn’t sneeze. This showed courage to view those in a positive light, even those that society has outcast; even when it is hard, even when everyone else tells you not to, we love regardless.

In 2018 The Love Mission started adopting families at Christmas and in July (Christmas in July). The Love Mission was able to supply families-in-need items. The mission never quite reached its full potential until Jessy met Caitlin. Jessy and Caitlin worked together at a drug and alcohol residential facility and shared a passion for the lack of resources for underprivileged communities. They worked together to accelerate The Love Mission’s ability to function as a legitimate nonprofit and gain exposure within the community to be in a position to provide resources. Jessy and Caitlin carefully handpicked board members whose values aligned with The Love Mission and who had a vested interest in helping to serve these communities.

The Love Mission has many projects: opening a Sober Living by December of 2023, always collecting hygiene items for those in need to distribute, hosting diversity and inclusion training and open-forum discussions, recovery-related resources to assist in long-term sobriety, a community garden, and many others.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Jessy and Caitlin both work full-time jobs, and they find it hard to balance moving The Love Mission forward. Jessy and Caitlin have also found it challenging to find sources to fund The Love Mission to the extent that they can focus their efforts on it full-time. They look forward to the time when they can focus all their attention on The Love Mission and helping the community.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Caitlin is passionate about helping those who suffer from substance abuse disorders, mental health, and homelessness. Caitlin struggled for many years with her crippling substance use issues, which led to legal problems, homelessness, mental health issues, and the like. There is a lack of resources in the St. Charles County area, particularly for people suffering from these issues, and a lack of education or early intervention resources. Caitlin is passionate about creating programs to assist people and their families in recovery, harm reduction, and other education surrounding substance abuse and mental health.

Jessy is passionate about helping those in need, diversity, and inclusion. Jessy continues to see many marginalized people who do not have access to resources, whether it be due to their race, gender identity, or religion. A lack of knowledge in the community creates an imbalance between resources for all those in need. Jessy hopes to bring awareness to the community to reduce this gap. Jessy’s philosophy has always been to lead with love in all situations, regardless of what or who society says is worthy of love.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Things are more powerful when you have a team of people sharing your mission.

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