Transformation Ministries was founded in 2009 with the intention of transforming the hearts and minds of urban youth and families in South Bend. The organization started by focusing on 12 South Bend students through a leadership program called Iron Sharpens Iron (ISI). The program has since grown to more than 70 students from South Bend. The ISI leadership programs consist of four main components: spiritual growth, academic empowerment, life skills and mentoring. Each student is given a 1-on-1 mentor, as well as assistance in other areas of development, one of those being life skills. These life skills include interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, coping strategies, applying and interviewing for a job, and much more. While the students were extremely receptive to a classroom style teaching of life skills it simply wasn’t transferring into real-life scenarios. At the same time, we began to see how the lack of money negatively affected high school dropout rates, crime, and drug use. The pressures were complex and overwhelming for our students.
So, in 2014, we began to look for real-life training. We approached a few local businesses to see if they would take a bit of a risk by providing our students with a first job opportunity. Understandably, many did not have the time or margins to take that chance. That’s the moment when Greater Impact Lawn Care was formed. We started with a push mower, weed whacker, and four properties. After the first summer in 2014, we felt that we could expand if we hired more students and got the word out about what we were doing. In 2015, we maintained more than 35 properties and hired five students from ISI. We have grown every year since. Within a couple years we were maintaining more than 200 properties, doing basic landscape jobs and had a team of 13 employees. We made a crucial decision in 2018 to hire a full-time General Manager to take our business to the next level. And that’s exactly what has happened. We grew in our quality and our ability to do more complex landscape jobs. We recently started a new divisions of Great Impact focusing on General Construction and Screen Printing. As we look to the future, it’s our hope to continue to meet more needs in our community which will allow us to further our mission of mentoring youth through meaningful work.