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PERSPECTIVES

INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES

Be Inspired: Stephen Rose with The Peach Truck

Our team at Mocha Club loves working and living in Nashville, Tennessee – a place known for its community and the inspiration from its members. These individuals are the best in their craft and we want to share them with you!  This blog series features locals that inspire us through their unique/beautiful/innovative…we could go on and on..approach to life, business and community.  We love their businesses and  want to showcase them in this new series – where simply,  we want to inspire others by what inspires us.

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Stephen Rose :: The Peach Truck

What motivated you to start your business, and how has it grown since it began?

The Peach Truck was started out of a natural problem. I grew up in Peach County, GA, which is where Georgia Peaches are grown. That meant eating fresh peaches right off the tree every summer. Moving to Nashville, I figured we’d have some good peach options during the summer being just a state away. That wasn’t the case at all. I needed to figure out how to get my hometown’s peaches to Nashville. It started as a small side business my wife and I ran, and has now grown to 50 employees during the summer. The vision hasn’t changed, though. Get Fresh Georgia Peaches to people right off the tree, and create an incredible experience while doing so.

How has the Nashville community embraced your business?

I couldn’t imagine a more welcoming community to start a business. From the chefs who put us on their menu, to the shop owners who allow us to set up, to the community who supports us by buying our peaches, it’s been a remarkable experience. Nashville wrapped its arms around us from the beginning. We couldn’t be more grateful.

Is there any way that your business has given back, to the community or in some other way?

We work with a couple food banks in Nashville to make sure that our peaches get to folks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them. It’s hard to believe, but our town has areas that are literal food deserts, with no access to fresh produce. To be able to donate our top quality peaches to people who don’t have access to fruits and vegetables the way most of us do is an incredible honor.

What is special about the way you sell peaches and how it brings community together?

We always strive to create a memorable experience. Everyone who works with us does so because the believe in what we do and they’re passionate about our product. We’re always collaborating with restaurants and companies around town that we align with. Everything we do strives to celebrate summer and what it means to so many. We hope when people think about summer in Nashville, they think about The Peach Truck.

Where does all of your peaches come from and why do you buy from them?

We are the Nashville arm of Pearson Farm. I’ve known the family that runs the farm my entire life, and we developed the idea of The Peach Truck together. For them, they wanted someone who would treat their peaches the same way they do. It’s almost tragic that they can prune the trees perfectly, thin the peaches perfectly, pick them at the perfect time, and a grocery store who gets them holds on to them for too long and they develop that mealy taste grocery store peaches are known for. It’s much too hard of work to let that happen. We make sure our customers get the peaches within a couple of days of being picked, which is a logistical nightmare, but it’s the only way for people to taste the same peach I did when I was growing up. It’s truly a match made in heaven.

Clean Water, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

Be Inspired : Mark, author of Zen Pig

Our team at Mocha Club loves working and living in Nashville, Tennessee – a place known for it’s community and the inspiration from it’s members. These individuals are the best in their craft and we want to share them with you!  This blog series features locals that inspire us through their unique/beautiful/innovative…we could go on and on..approach to life, business and community.  We love their businesses and  want to showcase them in this new series – where simply,  we want to inspire others by what inspires us.

Zen Pig Love w: Stanza

What motivated you to start your book, and how has it grown since it began?

When my wife and I had our first child, Noble, I wanted desperately to guide him away from many of the mistakes I’d made and toward virtues like gratitude, mindfulness, and compassion – ideas and practices that have changed my life radically for the better. But once I was submerged in children’s media (like all parents eventually are), there wasn’t really anything I could present to him that nurtured those seeds.  So much of children’s media revolves around being a prince, or a princess, living in a castle, or being in a mystical land, there’s definitely a place for that, it’s not a knock.  But “Zen Pig” is here to show kids that you don’t have to be a princess, or a prince, or live in a castle to be happy; and that you don’t have to escape to a fairy tale land – there is infinite beauty and wonder to discover in THIS world in THIS moment.

How has the Nashville community embraced your business?

I want to be completely clear about this, I am utterly blown away, honored, and humbled by how much support Nashville has given the “Zen Pig” series and myself.  Local residents and retailers are the reason “Zen Pig” is still here and it’s success is all theirs.

What’s the story behind the name, “Zen Pig”?

The title of the series, and name of the main character is simply a testament to the philosophy it teaches and the result of mindful living; peace, serenity, and resilient happiness.

What is unique about your books, and what inspires them?

There is no deficit of children’s books, that’s for sure.  But I think “Zen Pig” has begun to stand out due to it’s focus on ideals that all parents wish for their children, minimalist design, and very specific philanthropic cause which teaches children the joy of giving.  Also, people seem to really enjoy the way the books feel, which I think is funny because I said the same thing when I received my first copy for approval!

Tell us about the good you are doing and your partnerships with local missions?

All the good that is manifesting from “Zen Pig” is 100% because of the readers and retailers, not me.  Releasing less than 5 months ago, THEY have already provided over 8000 people clean water for 1 year…it’s unbelievable.  I could not be more grateful – truly.  African Leadership and Mocha Club has been such a tremendous partner in all of this.  The difference between this non-profit and the many of the others we had considered partnering with is astounding.  They have provided transparency, support, and incredible kindness!

 

**Give to clean water now and buy Zen Pig at http://www.ZenPigBook.com!

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HIV/AIDS + Healthcare, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

“…From being frustrated and broken to inspired and powerful.”

Wondering what you are supporting when you support the Mocha Club and its mission?

You help support the HEKO program, a program for mostly women who are suffering from HIV/Aids. Through this program, they receive counseling and nutrition education on how to take care of themselves with this disease.

Here is the story of one member of the HEKO program that has been impacted in a meaningful way through YOUR support!

Dorcas Atieno Oluoch was 44 years old when she began herdorcas new life as a single parent of six after being stigmatized and discriminated by her husband upon learning of her positive HIV status. Soon after, he abandoned her and the children and moved in with another woman.

When Dorcas joined the program after learning about it from an awareness workshop organized by HEKO through elder Peter Odero and his wife Monica, she instantly felt encouraged. The program helped her change her life and make a positive change for herself and her children. She moved from being frustrated and broken to inspired and powerful.

At HEKO, she says she learned the importance of good nutrition and how to manage stigma and discrimination. She was also trained in micro-business finance for self sustainability.

She later formed a group at Kiberia DOs office and became a leader for the community. Today Dorcas lives a normal life with her children and volunteers in her community with social health work.

Thank you to everyone who supports the healthcare efforts of our organization at HEKO.

By joining Mocha Club, you too can change the life of a person just like Dorcas!

 

 

INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

Be Inspired: Maddy with Madeline Harper Photography

Our team at Mocha Club loves working and living in Nashville, Tennessee – a place known for it’s community and the inspiration from it’s members. These individuals are the best in their craft and we want to share them with you!  This blog series features locals that inspire us through their unique/beautiful/innovative…we could go on and on..approach to life, business and community.  We love their businesses and  want to showcase them in this new series – where simply,  we want to inspire others by what inspires us.

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Maddy Harper :: Madeline Harper Photography

What motivated you to start your business, and how has it grown since it began?

            I have always had a passion for stories- hearing the lives of others, stepping in to invest in that story, and then sharing it in an impactful way. My heart is drawn to finding beautiful in the ordinary, whether that be a chance to create or adventure or form a relationship. It was these two loves that prompted me to start a business that was equally about telling stories and creating beauty. I started this business in college as a side project, while volunteering for Young Life and finishing a business degree. I knew that one day I wanted to go full time, a dream that required a lot of faith filled risk and hard work. Every year that I invested in this business it grew exponentially. I started off shooting any and every event I could, from high school ministry to engagements. I had some dear friends who took the first risk of letting me capture their wedding day. It’s actually hilarious to look back at photos from the start of my business over three years ago and compare them with photos today! I took time to learn the craft from others much more accomplished than I, spent hours behind a camera practicing on my ever patient friends and family, and sought to continue learning and telling the stories of everyone I knew. Since then, it’s expanded to become a dream realized, as I am now a full time photographer

How has the Nashville community embraced your business?

Mocha Club was actually the first Nashville community to welcome me with open arms! While interning for y’all I met so many wonderful people who would speak life and encouragement into this endeavor. Plus, I got to capture my first Nashville wedding for one of Mocha Club’s very own! Since then, I have met a large number of talented creatives in this city who are promoting collaboration instead of competition who have greatly inspired as well as added to my business’s growth.

Is there any way that your business has given back, to the community or in some other way?

I love the wedding industry, it would be easy and natural to be solely focused on that world. But part of my dream for this business is to document stories for non-profits and mission groups. I have had the joy of going to Nicaragua to document medical missions for an incredible organization, Palmetto Medical Initiative, as well as go to Uganda to capture stories of orphan care for The Archibald Project. These two opportunities have only fueled my love and desire for collaborating with businesses who give back and use their voices for the good of others! In addition, I’ve been able to collaborate with Mocha Club on a few occasions and even had the joy of photographing Ellie’s Run for Africa this year!

What is special about the way you shoot and why do you do it this way?

The way I shoot is very organic and natural. I am all about candid photos! I believe beauty is found in the details: spontaneous and uncontrollable laughter between loved ones, a moment of contemplation before a marriage vow, a look of determination when working for a cause bigger than oneself. I try to stage as little as possible, but shoot mainly from a documentary style. Beauty is all around us without any need of manipulation. I also believe that having a relationship with your subject helps you capture their character in a way that is intimate and authentic. I love to learn about whoever it is I am photographing, whether a couple before their big day or a kid in the Ugandan childcare system.

Where does all of your experience and knowledge of photography come from?

I was incredibly lucky to intern under a great friend and mentor, Michelle Boyd, out of Austin, TX. She poured into my education of the art of photography and being a business owner alike. I’ve had the chance to second shoot and learn from an incredible photography community in that city. The main influence on my business, however, is my sister Meredith, owner of Bristol Lane. It is her business acumen and ability to push creative boundaries that urge me to grow the most. I’m in awe of being related to her. However, there is nothing like hands on experience. I learn every time I pick up my camera. I learn from every mistake I make along the way, because being a first time business owner you are always growing and adapting and bound to put your foot in your mouth a time or two. I learn from every shoot, business meeting, and creative friend. There is more enough business and inspiration to go around, seek the spaces and community that help you grow the most and invest in them!

Instagram: @madelineharperphoto

Member Spotlight, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

1 person. 10 years. 201 Mochas. 1,000s of lives.

Amanda has been a Mocha Club member since the beginning. She joined back in August of 2005 and has been giving up her mochas ever since to support our development projects all over the continent of Africa. She has given up 201 mochas and impacted thousands of lives. We caught up with her to chat about her involvement with Mocha Club and ask how much she’s been missing those mochas…

amandaWhen did you first hear about Mocha Club and join?

I first heard about Mocha Club at Matt Wertz’s rep show in July 2005 in Nashville. A friend and I were among the first to sign up, and I am proud to have been a member for over ten years.

What makes you passionate about Mocha Club and be part of it?

Knowing that a small donation of $7 a month can do so much for people in need (for example, feeding a family of 4 or providing clean water for a year) makes me a firm believer that there’s no reason to NOT be a part of Mocha Club. I earn $7 in less than a half hour at my job on any given day- if I can afford to buy lunch out once in awhile, there’s no reason I can’t afford to not put that money toward a cause where it can do so much more than provide one restaurant-quality meal to one person that doesn’t really need it.

You’ve been a member for 10 years! How does it feel to have been giving up mochas for that long – do you know how many you’ve given up?

It was hard at first, but I’ve struck a compromise with myself by simply going from fancy coffee drinks to hot or iced black coffee that I make at home. If I do the math, that comes out to…

We actually did the math for you – you’ve given up a total of 201 mochas throughout the past 10 years! Does that surprise you? Have you even missed them?

I have definitely not missed them, and neither has my wallet or waistline :) That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a treat once in awhile- but only when they’re buy one get one free or half price!

Would you tell a friend about Mocha Club?

I absolutely would- and I have! I have worked the Mocha Club table a few times at shows, and I love engaging in conversation with people so they can learn just how far $7 a month goes. The satisfaction I get from knowing that a small sacrifice is doing so much to help people in need far outweighs the cost of my monthly donation.

I can only hope that this organization is here for years to come so that it may continue to use live music as a tool for building a bridge between fans and the people that so desperately need our help. It’s easy to take what we have for granted (clean water, access to food, etc.), but making a small sacrifice of $7 a month is an easy way for anyone to make a difference.

 

MOCHATERNS, PERSPECTIVES

Mochatern Monday : 08.10.15

mochaternsIt’s so hard to believe that my time here at Mocha Club has come to an end. It feels like it was just my first day, yet it’s August, and the fall semester is right around the corner. My time here was incredible and I’ll miss every bit of it- from the people, to the meetings, the funny conversations, the projects I got to be a part of, and even the donuts I couldn’t eat because I’m allergic to gluten.

Being able to be a part of a wonderful no-profit surrounded by a team of lovely people was enough to make the internship worthwhile. The team here at Mocha Club is so incredibly dedicated to the work they do both in-house and on the ground in Africa. The number of lives that have been impacted shows just how much Mocha Club has made a difference – if only y’all could see all the hard work that goes into everything. I knew that a lot of hard work had to go into making Mocha Club as successful as it is, but I didn’t quite know just the scale of hard work and dedication it included. I can’t even tell you how many meetings I sat in on to prepare  the 10th Anniversary, each meeting no shorter than two hours. That alone shows how much each person on this team cares; they care enough to spend countless hours to make each and every thing they do virtually perfect.

But, it’s time for the next batch of Mochaterns to enter the office. Get ready, y’all: it’s going to be some of the best few months of your life! I’m so thankful for the time I got to spend here at Mocha Club and the friends I got to make.

Wait! I can’t say “until next time” anymore! I don’t know what to say… I guess this’ll do.

Until we hopefully (fingers-crossed) meet again,

Maddie

ASRAT
FROM THE FIELD, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

“Family life is a corporate work.”

Hallmark says it’s Father’s Day in the U.S. this Sunday. But aren’t we always thinking about our dads? Here are a few thoughts from some of our project partners – Tito in South Sudan and Asrat in Ethiopia – who are also dads. Amazing how the feelings are universal…

Tell us about the moment you first saw your first-born. How did you feel?
Tito: When I saw her, I was filled with joy and one of the nurses said, “Are you the father?” and I said yes, while smiling. Then she said, “Is a baby girl” and I said Praise the Lord. I stood and gave thanks to the Lord for the gift of the baby.

Asrat: I do not have word to express my feeling but like joy and surprise.

What is a piece of advice you would give to other fathers?

Tito: Make sure you take time to teach your children to obey God in their life. There is no short cut in teaching children. Family life is a corporate work. Each person has a responsibility to play.

Asrat: More than anything else to raise born again children. Most of the time we concern for their school and about their future but the first thing we should look seriously should be their relationship with God, if they have Jesus they have all !!!

Featured, INSPIRATION, PERSPECTIVES

“Wrecking my definition of charity…in a lovely way.”

Sometimes in the act of doing good, we lose sight of what it is we are accomplishing. We supply funds, we raise awareness, we bring solutions. It’s easy to distance ourselves from the personal and the dynamic nuances of the situation.

This week held a needed reminder when John Ambrose, a long-time volunteer, and Phil Renicks, our chief education officer, spoke at the office devotional. The way they spoke about Ellie’s Run for Africa and New Dawn Educational Centre hit me with a fresh view of giving to causes. It wrecked my previous definition of charity in a lovely way.

Phil shared a story of a New Dawn student he had the privilege of meeting back in 2009. Lucy Kamau Kamwende has a history that unfortunately can resonate with too many around the globe. She finished primary school, but her parents were unable to send her to secondary school because of finances. Lucy made her way to Nairobi to live with an Aunt and Uncle where she worked as a domestic in several different homes, each time facing unmentionable abuse. She heard of New Dawn and was admitted, despite the years of absence from school.

Irene

Lucy at New Dawn!

When Lucy came to New Dawn, she was battered and shy. She met Phil as a participant in a focus group interview aimed at evaluating the school program.  He asked her what changes she would make to New Dawn if she had the power. Her response? To provide dorms for the girls so that she could be safe. A dorm opened soon after, and provided Lucy with a safe home for the first time in years. She began thriving in her studies and in her personal growth. Lucy went from a victim of abuse to graduating near the top of her class, elected to be head girl her senior year, and a chosen speaker for the dedication of a new classroom building.

Lucy is now in her second year at Kenyatta University with a 3.5 GPA. She has a sponsor to provide the funding that she needs for her tuition, room and board.  As for her future? Lucy wants to return to New Dawn as a teacher of Kiswahili and Religious studies.  In the words of Phil, “New Dawn is developing young men and women who are not only desirous of an education and to get out of the slums to better themselves, but are desirous to get back in. They have an attitude of ‘we’ve been given to, so we want to give back.’”

 I used to have a skewed definition of what it meant to give in charity/ I saw it as throwing money at a problem or giving once, then moving on. But there is so much more to it than that. To me, charity is the choice to be actively gracious with whatever it is you’ve been given.  I see this in Lucy, who was given the gift of education and wants to pass it on. It is not simply a one-time donation, but an ongoing effort to be invested in the good of others. Charity is friendship driven and culture crossing and impacting one person at a time. It is always being at the ready to stand up and help. For the sake of grace. For giving others what they would otherwise not have- whether that be an education, clean water, or intangible but life-altering hope. This type of impact takes commitment and building relationships. Those we impact are not just a name, not simply a kid in a picture. We are working for a heartbeat and a story and a history and a future. We are giving for a family like ours on the opposite side of the world. It’s not just giving money. It is life-changing relationships. To me, that’s my new definition of charity.

Author: Maddy Harper

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Mocha Club.

MOCHATERNS, PERSPECTIVES

Mochatern Monday 12.15.14 : Love & Mochas

“sevenly"

I can’t believe our time at the office has come to a close. Fall seemed to pass by quicker than the first cup of coffee in the morning. What a full season it has been; we spent this semester learning the intricacies of non profit management, hearing stories from partners both here and in Africa, and counting more scarves than I knew existed. And let me tell you- it was a joy.

I am beyond grateful for every person in this office who took time to share parts of their story and let Courtney and I contribute to this organization. I am thankful for every sip of coffee drank in a Mocha Club mug. I am appreciative for this office’s desire to use our specific gifts in ways to make a difference here. Our time here was full of growth and newfound perspective. I learned so much about the efforts being made in Africa and the profound effect that small sacrifices can make. So thanks for letting us be a part of this season at Mocha Club. I can’t wait to see where the future leads this organization because I know the impact they make firsthand.

What a beautiful way to spend a season.

Love and mochas,
Madeline Harper + Courtney Lanier

Member Spotlight, PERSPECTIVES, Uncategorized

Why Mocha Club? Member Spotlight : meet Michelle.

Member Spotlights is a way to introduce the Mocha Club community to one another and to share our individual stories that brought us to support Africa together.

 

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

The phrase “I need frica more than Africa needs me” became more tangible over thlast two years. I lived on the M/V Africa Mercy, a non-profit hospital ship that provides free surgeries for some of the world’s poorest nations. But while living in Africa, it was not the poverty that impacted me most- it was the strength, the joy and the determination to press on that inspired me. I need Africa to remind me that it is more about what we have on the inside- our God-given strength- than any material possession that will allow us to achieve big dreams. Giving up one mocha at a time.

 

 

 

member since: September 2013

supports: General

 

So why’d you join Mocha Club? We’d love to hear from you, too!
Email info(at)themochaclub.org for the chance to have your story featured!