Altruism. The word, as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is “the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” Dr. Wallace is a practicer of altruism.
To start off our school week, the class traveled to Homewood to eat lunch at the sophisticated yet inviting Everyday Café. The social enterprise is owned and operated by the Bible Center Church. We had the honor of sitting down and talking with one of the leaders, Dr. Wallace. He informed us on the emphasis of social entrepreneurship and the strong community involvement in Homewood. The café encourages innovation and stays consistent with their message by being Pittsburgh’s first cashless coffeehouse. Earnings from the café get invested into Homewood’s other organizations, that have a particular focus on entrepreneurship, youth development, and education. Running a thriving business is a challenge enough; claiming a social purpose and providing back to the community makes the job even more challenging. At the same time, it becomes admirable. The Church starts many projects, such as saving other organizations and creating jobs, to improve the neighborhood, which will also attract more businesses to Homewood. Most importantly, there is a lot of involvement with the schools. Starting at the elementary age, there are year-round academic enrichment services focused on STEAM (a branch of STEM, but the A stands for agriculture). The program promotes healthy eating with the children’s realization of the ability to grow their own food. Doing this program also strengthens the partnership with Oasis Farm & Fishery and Fit United. At the high-school level, there are entrepreneurship classes available for students to gather exposure to business and compete in pitch contests. Additionally, there is transportation provided for the students who normally would’ve had to walk to school because no child should have to walk through the dark and cold alone.
The effort, care, and meticulosity put into this community have created a loving home for all residents of Homewood, showing proof for the wonderful benefits of social enterprises.