Introducing The Hub.
Jasmin here! This week’s Gamechanger will leave you amazed with his responses that carry with them a world of meaning. I am very excited to introduce you to Mike Evans who leads The Hub at City Heights Coffee House. Mike has been an active supporter and helper to the homeless community for a while now and you can just hear his enthusiasm for the work he does. The mission of The Hub is to facilitate a process of mutual learning and relationship building through the sharing of meals, stories, and time with City Height’s homeless friends. More specifically, they are a ministry of the Church. Quoting their founder, The Hub’s driving force is their hope in seeing the Image of God in all people, with particular attention to people that identify as homeless. The sharing of meals, stories, and time every week is their way of doing just that.
This time it was my turn to sit down with our newest Gamechanger: Mike Evans, founder of The Hub.
Tell us a little about your background and how you got involved with your nonprofit.
Mike (The Hub): I was a part of a campus Christian fellowship at UCSD called InterVarsity all of my years in college. One of the things I was involved with was a Thursday night homeless ministry that went downtown to hand out food and build relationships with folks living outside there. This was one of the most impactful things I did in college and, since then, I've wanted to do that again. With my friends at the Coffee House sharing the same heart for the homeless and City Heights becoming my own neighborhood, it seemed like an easy choice to start something here. Thus, The Hub was born.
Mike Evans (right) with his father, Rees.
What kind of impact does your nonprofit make in our City Heights community? (What do you envision?)
Mike (The Hub): The Hub is starting to make an impact in our neighborhood, and this impact seems to grow each week. Folks living outside in City Heights are starting to become more and more aware of what we do each Monday night. Some of these folks come for the free coffee and tea, some for the pizza and other food, and others come for the relationships. The vision we have is to restore the dignity and respect to our friends living outside in City Heights that has otherwise been lost or blemished.
What core values inform and shape your team’s culture and how you operate?
Mike (The Hub): Our core values include authentic relationships (especially with people that have different life experiences than you), sharing stories and giving a voice to the voiceless in our community, and holistic care. I hope to accumulate resources for homeless folks in our community so we can provide more all-around care, in addition to spiritual and some physical needs
Mike with Luis, a frequent attendee at The Hub.
Who’s your personal “Oprah, Michelle Obama, or Ellen” (aka personal role model or inspiration?) Why?
Mike (The Hub): My personal "Oprah" is a guy that goes by G. Father Greg Boyle, or "G", is the founder and visionary of LA's Homeboy Industries and is one of the coolest people you'll ever learn about or meet. If you haven't heard of Homeboy, do yourself a favor and check them out. Better yet, read Father Greg's book titled Tattoos on the Heart. This book will make you laugh and cry and see the beauty of compassion at work. G shares story after story of his work in Boyle Heights and other gang-laden territories of LA working to save the lives and futures of gang members. He displays a reckless compassion that changes the way you will see "the other" in your neighborhood. His story and his legacy at Homeboy are a motivation for the way I want to make City Heights an even more beautiful neighborhood. G is a large inspiration for The Hub.
Can you share a personal story that motivates you to continue making a difference in our community?
Mike (The Hub): Each week at the Hub is full of stories I could share. Feeding a hungry family of four or the guy that lives in an alley by himself are regular occurrences. These are the stories that drive us. I recall one friend saying, as he left, "I'm proud. I'm happy. I made good friends here tonight.” That's why we do it. That's what makes our time on Monday nights meaningful.