MVP Landscaping is Positively Fort Wayne
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Grow by mowing and more. The Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center, a nonprofit based in southeast Fort Wayne, operates MVP Landscaping. The company employs teens and young adults and teaches them work ethics and social skills as they work on beautifying neighborhoods.
“It’s nice to have a job that is like a family,” said Ben Caro, one of the teenagers who work at MVP. The company is based in the Mount Vernon Park neighborhood behind Bridge of Grace. “We have a lot of ruined properties and lots of vacant lots here,” said Javier Mondragon, Founder and CEO of Bridge of Grace. “We started buying some, but once you buy them you have to wait. We also knew that young people need work. So we saw how the two fit together. “
“I develop work ethic skills and communicate with other people. You know typical things that you would need for any job,” said Caro.
MVP is short for Mount Vernon Park. It’s only been in operation for a few years. Landscaper Gentel McGhee is responsible for the staff. “I think it’s great to work with young people. I grew up in this neighborhood and it takes something like that, ”said McGhee. “We don’t just cut grass or mow lawns, this is an opportunity for them to take something and actually be something in life.”
Rena Bradley helped Bridge of Grace and MVP with the work getting the teenagers on board. “This is like a community-to-career pipeline. We work with mentors both inside and outside our organization so they can begin realizing their own visions and dreams, and goals and passions beyond landscaping. “
“During a listening effort with Mount Vernon Park residents, we learned that their primary concerns were neighborhood safety, beautification, the lack of mentoring and guidance for youth, and employment opportunities,” said Mondragon. “This work with youth helps us produce indigenous leaders while adding value to Mount Vernon Park through a self-sustaining business.”
Originally the MVP target area was just southeast Fort Wayne, but it has branched out outside of Allen County. “We grew to have two different crews,” said Mondragon. “They work all over Fort Wayne and even Huntington now.”
To meet the financial needs that come with branching out, MVP will be running a virtual fundraiser. “On Friday April 23rd we will be holding an event to raise funds. Our goal is $ 55,000 to buy the equipment we need and get more support to hire more teenagers, ”Mondragon said.
The Bridge of Grace online fundraiser is called Spring Forward: A Day of Giving and Dynamism. The funds raised will benefit MVP Landscaping.