Here is the email I just sent to Mike Rowe. The picture above is him laughing at my request. I have never wanted to meet a public figure in my life (except for Father Gregory Boyle), but if you know what I am working on with teenagers and jobs you will know exactly why I would want to meet this guy. Also, if you know my sense of humor you would understand as well. If you care to help, please send Mike an email telling him why you believe in what I am doing with Mowtown and why he should go to lunch with me. You can do it on his Facebook page or by emailing him kindly at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
My name is Matt Overton. I am a Presbyterian minister in the Pacific Northwest. About a year ago I started a social entrepreneurship that employs local teenagers in a landscaping business called "Mowtown". I was sick and tired of sending my kids from my church out into the world with little or no life and job training. I happen to believe that work is a God given gift to all of us. As a minister who has a Masters Degree from Princeton Seminary I never expected to be emptying buckets of manure smelling grass into a trailer in pouring rain while wearing a Carhart jacket. The business and training program are great and you can see some of our story at the links below. We have just started to open up a Computer Programming track as well. I am doing this all while serving at a church for about 60 hours a week on its own. It is a beast, fueled by passion.
What really caused it to take off was when the CEO of Parr Lumber, who is the 15th biggest building supply company in the U.S., heard about what we were doing and came to us with a proposal. They proposed that we find them qualified students in our county who need 40 hour a week benefited jobs. Their benefits are excellent, they are employee centered, and they are looking for the kind of kid who isn't going off to college. We just placed our first student with them and have 3 more in the pipe. It is the craziest project I have ever worked on. I went from wearing a clerical collar to wearing a blue collar all in one leap. I am 25k deep on this project with my own money on one income and I am loving it. It is the most life changing work I have ever done with teenagers in my life. I am going to share some links and articles below that might interest you. I also have a proposal.
My proposal is this. I have never been remotely interested in a celebrity in my whole life. It may sound funny to say as a minister, but I am a natural skeptic. So, it says alot when I say I respect your work and your wit. I am offering you $2,500 of my own money that I don't really have to go to lunch. I would like to share with you about my project and pick your brain about this idea of developing kids for life through jobs. Ooops, I need to amend that offer. My wife just walked in and we are down to $2,000. Would you be interested? I promise a couple of things. First, I am not a religious nut. I am classically trained and would be burned at the stake by most American Christians as a liberal heretic when it comes to religion. Second, I promise not to ask for any funding. I find your work inspiring and can see an intersection between what you do and write about with what I am investing my blood, sweat, and tears in. Please let me know if you are interested. If you need respectable references I can put you in touch with Parr and with Princeton.
Rev. Matt Overton
Owner Operator at Mowtown Teen Lawncare and Landscaping
How it All got Started During the Downturn- http://www.youthministryinnovators.com/blog/2015/10/25/an-economic-downturn-a-camel-a-needle-and-some-god-given-gifts
How I Learned Humility And Shed my Elitism-
Why Teens Need Jobs-
How I Screwed Everything Up My First Day on The Job (this one is pretty funny)- http://www.youthministryinnovators.com/blog/2015/5/6/the-first-shot-out-of-the-bag-fail