#yesphx continues on #1mission

What a tribe we have

Here I am again, writing about the continuation of the Phoenix startup community’s efforts to build the world’s most generous community for entrepreneurs. But somehow, this time feels different.

For a while, now, I’ve repeatedly told newcomers and onlookers that I believe this collective vision of cultural, community-wide generosity is one that is both an aspiration as well as a part of our current identity. But now I know I can say it more resolutely, with even greater conviction and certainty — the Greater Phoenix I live in and love is building the world’s most generous community for entrepreneurs. Or, in other words…

Generosity is no longer just a vision, it’s our ever-expanding reality.

While I wholeheartedly believe this, I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me, either. I don’t think every citizen of Phoenix is on this mission. Nope. Not even close. But I can proclaim this truth about our ecosystem because I have witnessed a small but mighty, gloriously passionate bunch of starters, creators, innovators, and dreamers who are collaborating to build this vision into a reality. This has been proven to me time and time again, but now, I’m absolutely certain.

This weekend cemented the truth for me.

On our second annual trip, over 60 people from the startup community traveled to Puerto Peñasco in partnership with 1MISSION to help build three homes for three different families in need.

We came alongside these incredible heroes to hear their stories and partner with them as they continue to work toward a better future for themselves, their families, and their community. This marks but one step in their significant journeys.

I could go on and on about what we experienced this weekend, but it feels impossible to convey with words alone. Instead, I will instead do two things.

First, I will encourage you to signup right now if you’re interested in next year’s trip. You’ll be so happy you did, and you’ll receive more information around August about next year’s plans. Don’t wait. Don’t say you’ll come back to this link later to do it. There’s no commitment required. Just signup now to learn more later.

Second, I will leave you with what others have said of the trip, because what the community has to say is far better than what I alone can put into words. Be sure to tap their linked names below to see photos and videos from the trip, too!

In their own words…

Jeremy Whittaker, the man I couldn’t be happier to have made friends with during last year’s trip, said:

Our 2018 house build has come to an end and I don’t see how it could have been more successful. After finishing the house we went inside to say our prayer, bless the house, and hand it off to Guadalupe, the new home owner. She came inside and tried to thank us but was overcome by tears of joy. Her emotions spread almost immediately to everyone in the room. At that moment we were reminded why we were there.
This years trip helped remind me why every day I should be grateful for everything in my life. It’s hard not to look at Guadalupe, a 76 year old grandma and think, “this could be my grandma living in these unacceptable conditions”. Her house burned down almost a year ago and it took her living conditions and made them even worse. Imagine your bathroom is a dirt area 2' x 2' with a dirt floor. A sheet hangs behind you and some cardboard is leaned up on both sides as makeshift walls to provide your limited privacy. Your toilet is a five gallon bucket. This was the reality that we helped change.
One of my favorite quotes from this trip, “You come down here to refresh your soul”. I hope you’ll consider joining us next year. I promise you will laugh, work hard, make new friends, and leave with one of the most rewarding and memorable moments in your life.

Adi Cuevas, who I loved getting to meet and work alongside, said…

Building houses and making new friends…sign me up! We are definitely making this a yearly tradition.

Phoenix Business Journal’s business person of the year, Jenny Poon, said:

In 3 days with countless of volunteers we helped build a house for a young family in need. As we scarfed down white bread and sandwich meat next to kids who had not eaten all morning, I’m reminded of how fortunate we are to have the little luxury of always having food. And plenty of options. As they hold their infant baby, I wonder how I would have done it here without money food or a roof over my head. Then I realized, they do it together. They band together and saw wood to make frames for walls. They hand mix concrete for foundation. And together they lay and level it. Together they hold up the walls. No fancy tools, no power saws or electric mixers. Just muscle, hands and the company of others.
Meanwhile ayda made friends with the neighborhood kids. Not ever speaking a word of Spanish, yet they were able to entertain each other for days. Who’s coming with us next year?!

Dan “the fist-bumping man of action” Tyre said…

Random Acts of Kindness — three days per year my beautiful wife Amy and I work with 1mission.org to build a house for someone in Mexico, El Salvador or Nicaragua and give it to someone who earns the house via hundreds of hours of community service — 600 Square toot house goes up in 3 days — and you help build a community. How cool is THAT? Weneed more help — @ Puerto Peñasco “Sol, playa y arena”

PK Fields was a joy to be around this weekend, encouraging all…

…If you missed it this year sign up for next year!

Nicole Cottrell, to whom I am proud to belong, said…

This is the house we built in three days. This is Guadalupe, a 76 year old grandmother with a kind smile and generous heart. After a tragic house fire left her with nothing, she and her daughter and grandchildren were forced to live in a rusted trailer and tent, with some cardboard and an outdoor bucket as their bathroom. It’s unacceptable. This could be my very own grandmother — a woman who has lived long and suffered much and who should not be reduced to living in such deplorable conditions.
But @1missionorg provides a way for families like hers to help pull *themselves* out of poverty. They are the heroes of their story. We simply get to come alongside them.
Building a house in a few days is crazy hard, rewarding work (mostly sustained by mass quantities of Mexican Coca-Cola). The opportunity for my kids to build along with us while also getting to play with local kids is extraordinary. The work being done in the barrio by @1missionorg is immeasurable.
Once again, I left a piece of my heart in Mexico with the beautiful, hard working, gracious people there. And after years of personal health issues, I’m so thankful for an able body that can help build, not just a house, but hopefully a more promising future for those who need it most. And lastly, I’m thankful for the #yesphx community who gave of their time, talents, and energy so freely!

Paige Soucie, our community’s advocate and ultimate volunteer who once again spent her own time to help organize this huge effort, had this to say…

Such a rewarding, challenging & fun few days building a house for Marisela, Axel & Baby David. Thank you so much to @1missionorg for the incredible opportunity.

Finally, my eyes fill with tears as I read again what Stephanie Schull shared of the weekend, my personal favorite recap of the trip. These are true words spoken by a true heart…

I had many realizations this past weekend building a home in Mexico for a woman in desperate need of shelter. It was deeply moving to witness people coming together to help another in such a profound way. But from my perspective something else also happened: The living and work situation for us was difficult in that most “creature comforts” were gone. I was unable to find pleasure and comfort in my home, comfortable bed, private bathroom, clean clothing, fine dining, wine, music, sleep, books, my cats, the mountain view…all these things I use every day to create a cocoon of “happiness” were absent. It became clear to me that these comforts separate me from people as I don’t need anyone for anything. What then became clear, when all comfort was stripped away, was that any source of pleasure would have to come from interaction with others. WE would have to create the beauty and comfort one another. We did. We filled the emptiness with human contact and connection. We did what people do when they have nothing but each other and time: we worked together to help one another, shared what little we had, sang, danced, and told stories. We had a Community.

If you joined the trip and I missed your recap, please, please, please post your own thoughts and photos below. Personally, I can’t wait to hear how the trip impacted everybody that experienced it firsthand.

On a final note of my own…

I’m so very proud to call #yesphx a part of my tribe — or rather, to call myself a part of the #yesphx tribe. I could not be prouder, in fact. Everyone I know within this community goes way beyond the surface-level giving of their time and resources. Open up everyone’s chests that joined this trip alone and you will find #generosity engraved upon their hearts. They live it. They breathe it. And they demonstrate it.

Spread the word. And come join this crazy generous crew if you’re up for it. I have no problem bragging about it — we’re onto something big.

My heartfelt gratitude and love goes out to 1MISSION and all they are doing to make a better life for our neighbors to the south (and around the world). If you’re interested in helping them, you don’t need to wait until next January. Get involved with them!