Well friends, I have now been on the job as the new Executive Director for about 6 weeks! It has been quite a blur and it is amazing looking back at all of the work that has been done since July 1st. It has become overwhelmingly clear to me that FIRM really matters to our community. To evaluate a church’s connection to their community, a great question to ask is “If our church closed today, would our community miss us?” While FIRM is not a church, this question holds great value to us in our evaluation efforts.
What would happen if FIRM closed their doors and no longer provided services to the Southeast Asian and Slavic refugee communities? The countless walk-ins everyday would have nowhere to go for mental health services and would have no supportive services. Nearly 100 kids would not have been taught about the love of God and have something meaningful to do during the long summer months at our Family Festival. Hundreds of families would not be able to ensure that their family has medical insurance through enrollment into the Affordable Care Act or Medical. The nearly 60 families that access the 4 community gardens in Fresno County would not be able to depend on the food they harvest from their plots. There would be no preschool accessible to the many refugee families that live at the Summerset Apartment community. These are only a few examples of what would happen in our community if FIRM were to close their doors and there would be many more consequences to this if it indeed occurred.
During my short time at FIRM, I have clearly seen why FIRM matters. I am working to continue to keep FIRM relevant to our community and make sure that we can keep our doors open for decades into the future. As I look towards leading FIRM into a new chapter of ministry, I will continue to make sure that FIRM matters. Please pray for FIRM as I seek to make us financially sustainable and always be praying for the community we serve.
Peace and Love,
Zachary D. Darrah