I helped organize a Shooting4Peace celebrity basketball game in Harrisburg, where former NBA players play local teams to try to help build safe, strong communities. I had the privilege driving one of the NBA players to the airport at 2AM. I was told “He’s the best, super fun, and he’ll love what you’re doing. Take your kids.”
We chatted and he answered my questions, but we rode in silence for much of the hour ride.
I had hoped to talk about The Final Step, but he never asked me a question. It was, after all, 2AM and he was tired, still icing his knees 5 hours after the game. He is also on mission and busy building his own organization, but I expected the usual pleasantries and conversation.
As soon as he closed the car door I thought “marketing is everything”. I was still glad to serve and wasn’t upset that he didn’t ask, just disappointed I didn’t bring it up. I could have promoted the work we’re doing, but I hesitated. He was tired, I didn’t want to bother him, and he didn’t ask. Still, I left feeling like I wasted what could have been a good opportunity.
Marketing is everything. Being prepared and having a plan, or worse having a hope, is not enough. Sometimes you must look past your hesitations and promote yourself.
The Final Step is just getting started and we don’t have much to show yet, but we have a website and I just interviewed a developer and a manager who are both eager to start. With those two positions filled we can start securing work and finding workers. All the preparations and planning will go into effect and I can start marketing and using every opportunity to share our mission; creating jobs for people with physical disabilities in the Majority World.
Head over to www.thefinalstep.org to learn more or to get involved.
40 hours of travel for 80 hours in Kenya. The trip was positive and productive. I booked the flights with 2 weeks notice and had no appointments lined up. Even with such short notice, each day was full of impactful meetings and incredible opportunities. Everyone we met were willing to help and eager to see what we will be able to build.
We met a new organization, Rizikisource, that is already collecting the resumes of people with disabilities in order to begin finding work for them. Zalego will be able to provide computer training in any area we require, basic typing, PHP, Python, or Cisco training. Friends, some new and some old, were able to share valuable insights and introductions. We were really blessed to find some of the right people with such short notice and such little time to get together.
It was also really fun being back in Nairobi. It’s been ten years, but I met with some people who assumed I still lived in Kenya. I immediately felt like I was tricking them with my Kenyan accent and nonchalant shang and Swahili, but was later told I should appreciate being able to still communicate effectively after being gone for so long. The city has changed, taller buildings with more glass, and clearer skies; the result of nicer vehicles on the road. The people are the same, hospitable and caring. The samosas are still tasty.
A business called The Final Step
Cure was the first step, hospitals to provide life saving and life changing surgeries. Education is the next step, learning and skills, often left unused without jobs. We have helped build a school for children with disabilities, but we realized there are many more organizations serving the educational needs, even of the disabled community, than there are creating jobs. So, we’re focusing instead on the final step, employment.
We understand how important and dignifying a job is, especially for a community that sees twice the unemployment rate of the often high national averages. That was the point of this trip, to begin taking strides toward testing our assumptions and getting started building a business to provide thousands of jobs.
The trip was both tiring and refreshing, exhausting hours juxtaposed with the excitement of this important work being affirmed and validated. Someone asked if I felt called to this; undoubtedly, yes.
I was the owner/operator of a small web design company in Central PA, but I am closing that to help start a new business. I am now focusing my web and business development experience on starting a new organization, dedicated to creating jobs for disabled people in East Africa. So, this new venture is the next step for me, applying my experience and upbringing toward a great new cause.
This new business is another project by the founders of Cure International, who always planned to follow the hospitals with education and employment opportunities for the thousands of kids who received life saving and life changing surgeries. Cure has been a part of my story as well, since I ultimately met my wife because her father was the engineer building the first Cure hospital, twenty years ago.
We are working on a plan to create thousands of online jobs in the next five years. We will train and equip virtual workers and will pair them with online work. I will be traveling to Kenya in the next few weeks to make connections and hopefully find a few people to begin working with to test some of our ideas.
We are just getting started, so please connect if you’d like to learn more or to help out.
About the blog
I’ve removed all of my old content and posts. I apologize if you found this site from a link from old tech posts about Android and Gmail . I was still getting a lot of traffic to those pages and the internet marketer in me doesn’t want to lose the SEO value those links represent. Still, all new posts will chronicle this new organization and the lessons and adventures along the way. I decided to start fresh with the blog because I’d like to know all new visits represent interest in this next step.