I was excited to visit 4141 Ministries this past Monday for our Soc. 186S course, especially since they adhere to many of the ideas the Humanics program follows including an asset-based community development approach and a need for community led empowerment. 4141 Ministries mission is to “encourage, equip, and catalyze community aimed at the vision of healthy neighborhoods.” Many of their programs center around work development including: Carol’s Cottage, Fishing for Life, Build a Child, their Coaching and Entrepreneurship program, Joseph’s Java Function, and Granny’s Park Community Park. Carol’s Cottage is their “fancy yard sale” where they offer job opportunities to community members. Our Humanics scholars had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Sims, also a pastor, inside Carol’s Collage where he and COO Andrea Sims described some of their programs.
Fishing for Life allows for micro-loans and mentoring of small business owners while Build a Child focuses on teaching entrepreneurship to children after-school or in the summer. Joseph’s Java function offers coffee, tea, and free-Wi-Fi for those looking to meet, relax, work, or study at Carol’s Cottage. In addition, Granny’s Park community center is run by 4141 ministries, for the city of Fresno, in an economically challenged neighborhood near Blackstone Avenue. It was touching when Executive Director Tom Sims explained that their mission and CBO name derived from Genesis 41:41 where an immigrant equips Egypt to survive, thrive, and help[s] their neighbors through famine.
Some of the challenges 4141 Ministries is encountering involves their boar. Currently, they have 3 board members and are actively looking to recruit more board members. Recently, they also had their first revived board meeting and are they are working on strengthening their board. When asked about their funding sources, Mr. Sims also mentioned how their funding source is composed of only individual donors and the church, the Executive Director and COO are currently considering selling the property which will generate additional revenue for (approximately) the next five years of the organization. 4141 ministries are also considering other sources of funding that will help ensure their organization remains sustainable.
The blessings of the organization include their volunteer network and the commitment from neighbors and other community members to consistently turn out when needed. 4141 Ministries also has partnerships with other community benefit organizations including FIRM and the Better Blackstone Association to further enhance their work. They’ve also been blessed to be able to work with many of the youth around their service area where they also see youth continuously return to their programs and site.
Besides being an executive director, Tom Sims is also an author of the 2016 book titled The Confidence Factor: A Journey through Philippians. The book links confidence with living a life of faith. On the back cover, Mr. Sims recounts how the Epistle of Joy “reflects deep faith in a God of infinite possibilities.” Sims notes how believing that we can do all things through Christ requires a trust in God and action on faith. Such faith brings about confidence in all we do since we can affirm ourselves that all is possible through God.
I am very thankful to Mr. Sims and Andrea Sims for the opportunity to visit Carol’s Cottage, for the hospitality, and for allowing us to further learn about the work 4141 ministries is doing.