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How can you thrive in the midst of hardship?

Our culture tells us to avoid pain – it encourages a pursuit of pleasure or feeling good. And there is nothing wrong with feeling “good.” But one thing that has been lost in this pursuit is the beauty and goodness of feelings that don’t feel so good. When you experience a feeling, you have a choice, you can go to one of two extremes with that feeling. One is healthy and always invites community and growth. One is unhealthy and usually ends in isolation and despair.

Lets take hurt for instance; when I’ve been hurt, I can choose to either move toward resentment and bitterness or toward courage. Resentment pushes me away from relationship (at least with the one who hurt me) and leaves me to wrestle with this painful feeling alone. On the other hand, I could choose to move toward courage to be honest (with the one who hurt me) and potentially lead to restoration of the relationship. This honesty doesn’t cover up the hurt but chooses to express this emotion and create a space to find reconciliation.

From just this one instance, I can use hurt to grow my courage and potentially build a healthier, stronger relationship. This is thriving. Using the experiences life hands you to propel you forward physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And the beauty of thriving is that when you are thriving in community, you are naturally helping foster a thriving atmosphere for others around you. When you thrive, we thrive.

Emily Blackledge, Mocha Club President

Learning your A-B-C-Ds…

We sat down with Mocha Club President, Emily to discuss the strategy of how Mocha Club educates local leaders in Africa & it’s all about your A-B-C-Ds:  Asset-Based Community Development. Through many years of working with African friends, we have seen (and learned) how powerful it can be when you look at what you have instead of what you lack. And it’s a good way to look at life, in general!

Read along with our conversation with Emily…

How do you use asset-based community development to think holistically?

Asset based development starts with what you have instead of what you lack. It’s a perspective, a mindset, a way of thinking about the world and your place in it. This mindset creates a positive posture from which to approach any topic or situation. And its open-ended question of “what do I have?” naturally allows you to explore answers from multiple angles. Not only do you create a list of things you know intellectually, but you also use your passions as strengths and consider what you can do with your hands. This question and mindset allows you to bring all of yourself to a situation or  problem and create the most holistic response.

Why focus on assets instead of problems?

Both are important. Problems arise by knowing where you want to go and what stands in your way to getting there. Equal to the creation of progress is knowing what you have to work with. “Assets” is just a fancy word for what you have. So when we choose to focus on what we have instead of what we lack, we can begin to see where we currently are and all the avenues for moving forward. It propels progress. Progress brings development – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

What transformation happens in a community when you start to look at what you have instead of what you lack?

Positivity. More than anything else, when you start a conversation with what you have – you begin on a positive note. This alone can help spur progress and development. Just like all elements of confidence and assurance, when you look at your surroundings and can see something positive – or at least start with something positive, you invite progress and development. When you consider the circumstance from all of your assets – you think holistically about the circumstance – you often notice elements of yourself or those around you that you might have missed otherwise. That knowledge can bring transformation.

Where can ABCD be used outside of a community in Africa? (relationships, self care, school, etc.)?

YOU can use this concept of asset based in anything – your relationships, yourself, your job. I am always shocked where I find it. For example, I was recently reading a course book on trauma counseling where they spoke specifically about using asset based tests to work with their clients on what they have to bring to their circumstances, not only focusing on their need or lack or trauma. I’ve talked with college students about using ABCD when determining how to split up a group project. Wouldn’t you rather ask the person who LOVES numbers to be in charge of the budget or numbers doc than the person who can write sheet music?! And with children – it works really well to build self confidence to start with what they can do and what they love to do than what they are struggling with in school. How do you work with what you have to solve the issues that keep you from getting to where you want to go.

Shout it from the [social media] mountain tops!

Psst…in case you forgot, Mother’s Day is on May 13th!

Join us as we share how much we love our moms (and other important women in our lives) by participating in a fun social media post.

Save the image below to your phone & upload it to your Instagram story. Fill in the boxes with information about your mom and let’s join in learning about  & celebrating all these incredible women!

Southwestern + Mocha Club

Have you ever heard of Southwestern Advantage? Yes, the book selling company! Although it’s so much more than that.

The Southwestern Advantage mission is to help young people develop the skills and character they need to reach their goals. And these products are marketed by college students and recent graduates building their own businesses and gaining the tools they need for success in life.

Southwestern also encourages it’s booksellers to have a social impact when building their business. And Mocha Club is a proud partner of those efforts. Watch and learn more!

Will you be my neighbor?

Everyone has a story. And in each individual’s story, they are their own hero – the central figure to their story.

In a neighborhood, to find out what the problems are or the solutions can be, the best way to do that is to listen to the stories of those already in the community. With time, as you build

relationship, trust is given and respect is built. Then, there comes a time where asking questions and offering ideas adds value to the task at hand. But for starters, listen!

Because like it or not, our neighbors are a part of our “we.” The people that live around my house, the colleagues that share my office space, the men and women, boys and girls that go to my church are a part of my community. And I believe there is value in every human being. So the value and strength of my community is directly tied to the people and potential that exists in each of the individuals there. By not knowing them, I can’t know what value, what beauty, what assets they bring to the community.  And when the whole is only as great as the sum of its parts, then the whole suffers when the assets of the individuals are not recognized and used. So – get to know your neighbors!

The Power of Yes

As Mocha Club President, Emily Blackledge is constantly on the move meeting with leaders, pastors, donors, and friends of our organization — those that want to learn more about life in Africa, how we are involved & how, as a community, we get to work together to make an impact in this world. After several encouraging and inspiring conversations last week, she shared with us her musings of what she wants this “work” to be about…

I want to expand the margins and boundaries we build around us. I no longer want to fight against something…but for something. I want my life to be about the positive – the propelling movement into the future, not the raging battle against the negative. I believe by being for the positive, it is in fact more powerful than standing against something. I want to say “yes” more often. “No” is limiting; it fights against something; it defines the negative. “Yes” is powerful. It invites as opposes to divides. It speaks to what we have, not what we lack. It’s a powerful tool for inclusion. It’s a means to fight for, to stand for, to work toward. It means I have something to offer – my “yes” defines what I can give or be or extend. I want to say “yes” as often as possible. Yes to opportunity, to possibility, to movement. Yes.

Your mochas = trauma healing

We have exciting plans to make your mochas matter this coming year. Our local leaders on the ground spent the past few months dreaming up ways to fight extreme poverty in their communities and here’s just a little of what you can expect this year:

  • A completed water well in Malawi, providing clean water to 200 households.
  • 18 new asset-based development courses, teaching local leaders how to dream and plan for their communities.
  • Trauma-healing groups in four different Congolese communities for children who have experienced the trauma of war.
  • About 100 students from Kenyan slums receiving a secondary school education.
  • A farming project in Congo providing a sustainable source of food for an orphanage in Goma.
  • Around 40 new women being rehabilitated from a life stuck in the sex trade in Ethiopia.

You’ll notice that a few of the things on our list for 2018 revolve around trauma-healing. And it may give you pause. Isn’t that what professional counselors are for? Why do our local leaders consider this part of a plan to fight poverty? How exactly can my mochas matter through such an intangible means? Aren’t things like education and healthcare and orphan care more impactful and urgent in fighting poverty?

All good and valid questions. But here’s why our local leaders choose this as form of intervention and poverty alleviation: Trauma-healing is healthcare. It is orphan care. It is education. It is economic development. And it is something highly relevant in war-torn countries like Congo and South Sudan where we work.

How is it all those things? Take our Congolese Country Director for example. In 2017, Denis worked to train a group of community leaders how to identify and address trauma in children. Then those leaders went back to their communities and implemented what they learned — one is a director at a primary school who began “healing clubs” for the kids in his school, one lives near an IDP camp and created a support group for traumatized children in the camp, one gathered a group of police and soldiers and taught them how to better identify and respond to the children they encounter in their jobs.

The children at that primary school now have access to mental and emotional healthcare that will be vital to their ability to develop and continue their education in a school environment. The children in that IDP camp may be orphans who have witnessed unimaginable violence and now have a “family” to support them. The children who come into contact with these members of the police force will benefit from someone in a position of authority who understands them and can see past their actions. All of these things are necessary foundations from which to fight extreme and generational poverty — growing a generation of children capable of flourishing despite their trauma and becoming compassionate adults actively rebuilding their communities, economically, physically, and emotionally. This isn’t possible when that generation is bogged down by extreme trauma.

As a part of Mocha Club, you are a force behind this process. Your mochas make each of these things possible. They reach children, they reach influential adults and community leaders, and they impact the future in ways you can’t even imagine. You are fighting extreme poverty by alleviating the trauma that stands in the way of development.

(And don’t worry — part of training these local leaders is helping them recognize the limits of their abilities as lay leaders and know when to turn it over to professionals to avoid doing any harm.)

Mocha Club + Jordy Searcy + YOU!


We are excited to announce another new Mocha Club artist, Jordy Searcy! This Fall, we will be joining him as he tours around the nation and we are looking for Mocha Club members to volunteer at a show and help share about our friends in Africa asking others to join us in fighting extreme poverty!

We need 2 people to work the Mocha Club table at each of the concerts listed below.  Would you be available? It will be a fun night sharing about Mocha Club and welcoming new people into our community. We can’t do this without you!

A fun bonus is that Mocha Club table staff get free admission to the concert!


September 8: Jackson, MS // VOLUNTEER!

September 9 : Mobile, AL // VOLUNTEER!

September 12 : Fayetteville, AR // VOLUNTEER!

September 13 : Waco, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 15 : Dallas, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 16: Abilene, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 17: Texarkana, TX // VOLUNTEER!

September 22: Athens, AL // VOLUNTEER!

September 29 : Salem, OR // VOLUNTEER!

September 30: Columbia, TN // VOLUNTEER

We’re looking for people who are…

  • Friendly, passionate, responsible, & organized
  • Able to take initiative in introducing Mocha Club to people
  • At least 18 years old

What Mocha Club table staff will need to do at the concert:

  • Arrive approximately 1 hour before the show to set up the Mocha Club table (instructions will be provided).
  • Explain Mocha Club to people who approach the table before, during, and after the event.
  • Be responsible for Mocha Club table items throughout the show (do not leave table unattended).
  • After concert, answer questions and help people fill out Mocha Club signup form.
  • Safely pack up all items at the end of the show and make sure completed signup forms are Fedex’d to us **no later than the next business day following the concert.**

Mocha Club + Nathan Angelo


*Brand new* Mocha Club artist, Nathan Angelo has announced his 2017 Fall Tour and we are excited to be joining him! We hope to see you at a show as we share about our friends in Africa & ask others to join us in fighting extreme poverty!


August 9 : Vienna, VA

August 10 : Pittsburgh, PA

August 12 : New York, NY

August 31 : Isle of Palms, SC

September 1 : Atlanta, GA

September 2: Charlotte, NC

September 6 : Lexington, KY

September 7 : Nashville, TN

September 8 : Greer, SC

September 27 : Chicago, IL

September 28: Indianapolis, IN

September 29 : Chattanooga, TN

October 5 : Columbia, SC

October 6 : Bluffton, SC

November 1 : Asheville, NC

November 11: Dallas, TX

November 16 : San Francisco, CA

November 18: Augusta, GA

Interested in becoming a Mocha Club artist advocate? Email Fallon –


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We are hiring a new position for our team : Member Care Coordinator. This person will be the first point of contact with the organization and is responsible for creating a warm welcome to new members & friends of Mocha Club! Read more responsibilities & expectations below.

Applications are due Friday, April 28th with an immediate start date.

Apply by email with your resume to info(at)