Sunday, May 22, 2011

Open House

Yesterday we celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of the Opportunity Center. As I prepared for the day I got the chance to reflect on what has happened in the last year. It was a great time for our missionaries to reflect as well. God has brought us a long way in a short time.

We walked people through the wood shop, the sewing center, and the opportunity garden across the street. We talked about the other two gardens we manage in the area. We toured the Bremen Theater with a group. We showed them the houses we had boarded up. We showed off our products, over 20 items in our product offering. We introduced people to our 12 missionaries. We displayed 3 new business start-ups that are incubating in the Opportunity Center. We introduced people to Roger and Barbara who entered through the work re-entry training program and are now developing their own product to make and sell. We hung up pictures of what the place looked like before.

Most importantly we impressed upon our visitors and our own minds that none of this was a part of our work just one year ago. When we see all that has been done in one year and the meager resources that it has been accomplished with, we know that we cannot take credit for it all. God has granted us the privilege of participating in His work. We look forward to seeing what next year will unfold. And we are most thankful for all of you. The people that we have had the opportunity to meet are the greatest opportunity the Opportunity Center has granted us so far.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I-55 Games Launches Their First Game

What an exciting time for the Opportunity Center and I-55 Games. The new non-profit that is being incubated through the Opportunity Center is launching their first game. The game will be made almost entirely from repurposed materials and almost entirely through the woodshop and sewing center of the Opportunity Center.

Here is how I-55 Games describes themselves.

"We offer creative job skills training to the disadvantaged through daily operation as a board and card game publisher. Employees are hired and trained in the basic skills of the workplace. (timliness, effort, thourough followthrough, ect.) We then mentor and develop each employee's individual passions and talents, with the aim of either releasing them into the workplace as skilled workers or enabling them to start their own venture that is in line with the core values of I-55 Games. I-55 Games is dedicated to the idea that the workplace profits when the people are fulfilled. We strive to make our daily tasks and works of creativity a family affair. We believe that creativity is an act accomplished with God. We believe that education is free whether people charge for it or not. The only barrier is how much a person loves to learn. We believe that games should not only be fun, but enrich relationships with family and peers, and engage the mind, perking the curiosity of the individual to strive and learn more about our world."

Here is a glimpse of the game as I have seen it.

The name of the game is Fair Trade - A game of competitive coffee cartels.

The game is played on a board made from repurposed coffee bags. The hand stained playing cubes and huts are made from scrap wood from our woodshop. The concept of the game is to follow the principles of Fair Trade to buy and sell coffee. The game is a learning game as well as entertaining. The game employs a unique mechanism that creates a very real supply and demand feature to the game.

Go to the I-55 Games Facebook to learn more and see the prototype.

I-55 Games Facebook

Would you like to see this new venture get off the ground? You can help by pre-ordering a copy of the game for yourself. The game will initially sell for $30.00 and $5.00 will secure your pre-order in the first run later this month.

Do you like the idea but you are not much of a game player? You can still help by sending a tax deductible donation to Sun Ministries 234 Christina Marie Dr. O'Fallon, MO. 63368 with I-55 in the memo.