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A visit with the Mosaic Foundation - Giving back to the Community - Atlas All Access 93

We are passionate about giving back to the Community. Our Co-Founder and President Steve Ryan has gotten connected with a great organization, the Mosaic Group, to do just that.

Steve even went to Tanzania with Mosaic to help communities there. Since then, we've been working with them closely to see what else we could do to help this group and their cause.

We were touched by how much work they do in Tanzania with only one vehicle for transportation to service all of the people they do in the communities there. Because of this, we are looking to buy them another bus so they can have an even larger impact in the area.

Mosaic is based in 11 states and always looking for volunteers. They are open to new ideas and welcome new faces that want to make a difference.

Rich Smith: Giving back has always been an integral piece of Atlas, on this episode we talk to Mosaic, located in 11 different states and internationally in Tanzania. Our friend and president of Atlas, Steve Ryan, went over there this summer. If you watched Atlas Daily, number 288, and volunteered his time for an entire week. There are volunteer opportunities throughout Mosaic helping special needs kids all the way up into adulthood with different programs, day school, they're going to talk through all the different things that Mosaic has to offer. It was way more than I ever imagined and thought, "We need to sit down and talk through some of this", just so, if you're looking for volunteer opportunities and you want to, wherever you're at, you want to get out in that community, 11 different states, you'll be able to find a Mosaic center, where you can help out. Or there will be an opportunity to travel with Atlas next year in July, for a couple of you to do this kind of mission trip for a week or so. Atlas, All Access starts now.

Rich Smith: Kara.

Kara: Yes.

Rich Smith: Matt.

Matt: Yes.

Rich Smith: And Charles have join us today from Mosaic. This is... yeah, we're right there. There we go, so from Mosaic. Mosaic is a local nonprofit, largest nonprofit in Nebraska, is that right?

Kara: Yeah.

Charles: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kara: We are.

Charles: One of the largest, yep.

Rich Smith: That is great, I had no idea.

Kara: Yeah, absolutely.

Rich Smith: So, one of the largest nonprofits in Nebraska, if you watched Atlas Daily, number 288, you saw Steve talking about when he went to Tanzania with Mosaic and some of the volunteer work he did there. They also do a lot... Mosaic does a lot here in the states, not only in Nebraska, but in 11 other states?

Charles: Yes.

Rich Smith: Is that correct?

Charles: Yep.

Rich Smith: Talk about that a little bit, because one of the things that we talked to our traveling healthcare professionals about a lot, is when you get on a contract, they're always looking for something else.

Charles: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rich Smith: And so, volunteering is one of those things. Talk about the different states that you're in, and then how they can volunteer.

Charles: Yeah, we have 36 agencies across the country in 11 different states. We're in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado. We got locations in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Texas. I think I hit all of them.

Kara: I think so.

Charles: Yeah.

Kara: Yeah, and every website, every Mosaic has a little bit of a website, so you can go in, you can start at mosaicinfo.org, and from there you can navigate it, you can find the volunteer opportunities, you can fill out a contact page, and it comes directly to that agency. So, we've had local people in Omaha fill it out to be able to volunteer or any other services.

Rich Smith: What are some of the opportunities there to volunteer? What are some things that they could do?

Kara: So we have everything. If you have an idea, we always kind of come with it. We can make it happen. There's ways to volunteer with different events that we have throughout the year. We have an individual that comes every other week to do spa days in some of our group homes, we have one that does a yoga Bible study. We have some that just come to hang out during the day, at our day service. We have groups that have come to do games in the park, of course weather and all the fun stuff that goes in. But we have so many opportunities, a little bit of everything. If you've got a big group, if you've got one person, if you're new to the community, there's lots of different ways to get connected.

Rich Smith: Awesome. Matt, you talked a little bit about the different services at Mosaic.

Matt: Yeah.

Rich Smith: Give me your favorite. What do you like the most?

Kara: What do you like?

Matt: Watching TV.

Kara: Well, there's.

Rich Smith: There we go, okay.

Kara: We have video games in some of our hubs.

Matt: Yep.

Kara: We do. We also have puzzles and basketball hoops, video games, and surprisingly dress up and the photo booth is a lot of fun at our [crosstalk 00:04:20].

Rich Smith: Really?

Charles: Yeah, and actually they just had their Halloween dance here a couple of weeks ago as well.

Rich Smith: Oh cool.

Kara: Yep, we had some really fun Halloween and we'll be doing a trick or treat around the office.

Charles: Yep.

Matt: We did.

Kara: You will. Are you ready?

Matt: Yes.

Rich Smith: Rundown some of the services that Mosaic provides, just in general. You touched on a little bit of it, the group home and things like that. What are other services that Mosaic provides?

Kara: Sure, so Mosaic will provide after that individual usually ages at 21, out of the transition program with the school systems. We have everything from day services, to group homes, to residential services, where maybe you just need that little bit of support while you live at home with mom and dad. We have group homes where you can have nursing care and need those type of levels with [tracs 00:00:05:03] and roommates and things like that. Or, if you're a little bit more independent, you can live in a group home as well, where you have that family atmosphere. We have Mosaic at home, which is our shared service, where you can become an independent contractor of Mosaic, and have an individual with intellectual disabilities live with your family, and that's a way to receive that funding.

Rich Smith: Matt, how long have you been in with Mosaic?

Matt: Oh, almost 19 years.

Rich Smith: Wow, 19 years.

Matt: Yeah.

Rich Smith: How long has Mosaic been operating here in Nebraska then?

Charles: Well, we are a 106-year- old nonprofit. Mosaic is... came together from the formation of two legacy nonprofits, Betha G. Mission and Martin Luther Homes. Betha G. can date... trace their history back to 1913 and Martin Luther Home's 1925, respectively, came together in 2003 to form Mosaic.

Rich Smith: Awesome. Okay, so again, give me the website where, if they're interested at all it just in volunteering on a very basic level, where can they go? How do they start?

Kara: Mosaicinfo.org, there's a lot of different contact forms, and not a lot, but a few different contact forms you can complete.

Rich Smith: Perfect. All right.

Charles: Yep.

Rich Smith: Well, they came in and talked to us today. It was way more in depth than I thought it was going to be. I was surprised. Steve talked very highly of his trip to Tanzania, we're also going to talk about the international piece as well, but I think it was important just, if you can't get overseas, if you just have the time here, time, resources, that's all very, very valuable to what you do.

Kara: Absolutely, there's so many ways for businesses and individuals to be involved, whether it's business-to-business, volunteering, sponsorships, ways to be part of sustainable fundraising, ways to just be there every single day, and in unique ways. We'll always make it happen.

Rich Smith: Excellent. Matt, you like coming out to do these kinds of things there?

Matt: Yes.

Rich Smith: Oh yeah? Matt, what's your nickname there at Mosaic?

Kara: Title.

Rich Smith: What's your title?

Matt: Sugar.

Kara: You never know what Matt is going to say, but is the mayor of Mosaic, but apparently also known as Sugar Bear.

Rich Smith: There you go.

Charles: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rich Smith: The major of Mosaic. So, we had a great time with you guys today. Thanks for coming out.

Kara: Thank you.

Charles: Thank you.

Rich Smith: If you want more information, we'll put the link right down in the description. Go check them out there.

Kara: Thank you for having us.

Charles: Thank you.

Matt: Thanks for having us.

Steve Ryan: Hi, I'm Steve Ryan. I'm president here at Atlas Medstaff. I wanted to take a few moments to kind of talk about a recent trip I did, and it's importance with the Atlas family. Recently I was presented with the opportunity with Mosaic, it's an organization, a national organization, that works with people with special needs and disabilities, and helps them with getting included in different school settings, or just give them the opportunity to do more with the life that they have. At Atlas, we're always about looking for the next opportunity and ways that we can give back as a company. And I saw this as a great opportunity for us to kind of get out, kind of look at some things that our nurses may be interested in, and assisting with some of our Allied and PT people as well.

Steve Ryan: So, about two weeks ago, took an opportunity to fly over to Africa. We went to Tanzania. Flew into Kilimanjaro Airport, right at the base of Kilimanjaro mountain. Upon arriving in Moshi, we went, got checked in that night. The next day, we went out to the centers. Mosaic has partnered with BCC, organization out there that really works within the community and the world communities, and their main focus is getting out to these kids that are huts and in different places with really bad roads, and getting them, picking them up, and bringing them out to centers. They currently have eight centers, within the centers, I mean it's concrete walls, it's a dirt path, there's not a lot there. Their employee makes $50 a month and they spend 14 hour days there working with the special needs kids. It was just really eye opening for me, just to kind of see how folks live in the other side of the planet here, and seeing the opportunity that our company can really reach out and make a difference.

Steve Ryan: Definitely one of those moments in your life where it kind of changes you, and you kind of get a different perspective on the world. People were outgoing, had big hearts, they opened their doors to their huts and let us in, and let us see how they live on a day-to-day basis. I really felt great coming back, and getting to meet those kids. We had a Special Olympics day, which was amazing. They have over 200 kids, just in that Moshi area, they were able to bus in. But I got to play soccer, they made fun of me. They'd say, "Some big guy out there trying to kick the soccer ball", but these kids have big hearts and we're excited to give back to the community and get involved. We'll be working on trying to get them a bus. Transportation out there is almost impossible. So, a lot of these kids stay in their house and never get to the centers. So, that'll be our first step.

Steve Ryan: Next step will be working with some of the travel nurses here that work for us currently, and that'd be interested in maybe going out next year with us and giving back. So, main reason for the trip was just another step forward for our company and another way for us to give back. So, I'm hoping if there's any nurses that are currently working for us or any Allied or tech folks that want to give back, and want to get out there for a couple of weeks as a company, we'd look at sponsoring it. We'd pay for airfare and get you out there, but we're looking for people that might be interested in helping. So, over the next six months we'll really be working with Mosaic, see where we can get that bus for them, and then look about setting up, probably this time next year, which is their winter. It's about 75 degrees, so it's a good time of year to go, there was no bugs. But it's a great chance for us to get out there, so that's our next step.

Rich Smith: All right, so of course everyone knows Steve Ryan. Theresa from Mosaic is here, international.

Theresa: Yes.

Rich Smith: Correct? And Charles.

Charles: Yes.

Rich Smith: Stuck around to talk through the international piece with us. So, not only do you guys do things here in the states, you have a presence in Tanzania.

Theresa: Absolutely.

Rich Smith: Talk through a little bit about what that is, how that looks and the services that you provide.

Theresa: Mosaic International started about 20 years ago and we really focus on an accompaniment model, meaning that we wait to be invited. We make sure that the partners comfortable with the relationship and that we are both serving each other's needs well, and that we listen well, and that we respect how they work in their context. So, we started in Latvia, we moved to Romania and now we're in Tanzania, and really just like the way we do work here in the United States, we focus on the whole person. So, you start with the things that you need to start with, which is health, and then as the people that we serve get stronger and have more capability every day, then we work on things like educational and vocational training, and employment, and all the things that everybody wants to have a real and successful life.

Rich Smith: So Steve, you went this past summer to Tanzania with them.

Steve Ryan: Yeah, it was amazing. I think the biggest thing I saw was how involved they were with the community. And it wasn't just... I mean it's from getting them their shots, making sure they had a toothbrush, making sure that they're doing everything they could to help people be more included in the society. And there's a lot of work to do and it's amazing what this program does for us, so.

Rich Smith: You're invited, so you wait till you're invited, so there isn't a set date. You're not going July of next year or whatever, so in the meantime, how can normal everyday person help out?

Theresa: We provide ample opportunity for people to get involved both here in the United States, by visiting the agencies that we have throughout the United States in 10 States and over 250 communities serving 4,400 people. All of those people are eager and excited to work with you, and to invite volunteers in there. On the international side, we do take people at least once a year to go over and visit, and depending on what your gifts and your needs and how you want to give back, we try and find a way to make sure it's a good trip for you, as well as more importantly, the people we serve, because they are the focus of why we do our work there.

Rich Smith: Approximately how long would one trip last?

Theresa: So we, for instance, this year we'll leave July 13th and we'll return about 12 days later, on July 24th. Two to four of those days are complete travel, it takes a little bit of time. Luckily the flights aren't that bad and there's great movies on them. So, I don't want to discourage anyone from long flights, because basically you leave the United States, you go to Europe, and from Europe you go down to Tanzania. So, there's not a lot of layovers and lag time there. And then once you get in Tanzania, you hit the ground running. We keep you busy, we go visit people, we visit the centers and the programs. We visit the young adult farm, we do outreach visits to go visit the communities, the rural settings where people can't get to our centers every day. We get the opportunity.... we went to a Messiah worship service, which is always a very interesting part of our trip.

Steve Ryan: Yeah, that was amazing, just seeing how another country looks at giving and how they bring their community together. The churches are a very big part of their country, and it's our meeting place, right? So, it just needs.... going to those organizations and seeing how they bring the town together and how they focus on giving back to the community, so.

Charles: It is important that people go over to see the Tanzanian program, especially because, here in the states, when people want to go see the program, they have an opportunity to go to the local agencies, to get involved, to meet the people that we're actually to serve. When you're working internationally, we don't have those same opportunities, that same availability. So that trip, to go see the program, is how we connect people to the mission. So, it's an incredible experience for anybody who takes the time to go.

Steve Ryan: And I think as much as getting over there and seeing it and knowing how far your money can go, I think that was very eye opening to me. Just getting a bus for them or getting them some extra income. These are people working for a dollar a day to help these kids, and to help give back. So, a dollar doesn't sound like a lot to us, but to them it is. So, I think that was eyeopening to me. But I understand me going back again, probably doesn't provide the value as a... I can cut a check and help them provide more services, so.

Rich Smith: Well talk about that a little bit, because I know as much as we're going to be more involved maybe here in the states with... and maybe here specifically in Nebraska, you have a goal for next year hopefully?

Steve Ryan: Yeah, ideally. I mean, it's a matter of sitting down and seeing how we can contribute the most. My first take would be to get them some transportation, so I want to get that taken care of first. But then, finding a few people that can get over and come back and share the message to more people, I think is the key. And that's kind of what they're looking to do as well. But it's a life changing event though. I mean, I think everyone should go over there if they have a chance. But it's something that they have... only so many people can fit on a bus-

Rich Smith: Sure.

Steve Ryan: ... so you can't just send a ton of people, but the people that go back there I'm sure come back changed, so.

Rich Smith: I know that kind of the conversations we had before you left, to the conversations when you came back, were different. You came back changed. You came back with more focus and more purpose driven towards helping.

Steve Ryan: Right. It changes your life. It puts things in perspective real quick. When you go over there and you meet these folks that have absolutely nothing, but are high on life. And they pretend... we pretend every day that we have tough days and we have bad days, but these people have nothing and they're the most warm, giving people you've ever met. And I mean, to them life is a joy and it's just an amazing country and amazing group of people, so.

Charles: So, we'll have more details. It's only November now and this is... we're looking into July for the next trip to take place.

Theresa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Charles: If I'm not correct.

Theresa: Oh absolutely. July 2020.

Charles: So, we'll send somebody, I'm not sure how we're going to do it just yet, or how we're going to choose that, but there will be more information coming. So, if you're interested in this at all, reach out to your recruiter, let them know and let's start that conversation right now, rather than, I don't know, April or May, when it's probably too late.

Steve Ryan: And I think the biggest thing too, I mean I'm probably not speaking out of turn here, but, even if you can just send a couple of dollars, it helps. It really does make a difference. We have... the organization that I got to see, had eight centers and they're running the entire eight centers on $200,000, which is incredible when you look at the scale and the size, and there's over 200 kids with health insurance, with care, with food. I mean it's amazing what a dollar does over there. So, any little bit you could give I think is massive. And I know nobody likes... you go to charities and it's all about money. But the dollar really does matter over there.

Theresa: Goes a long way.

Rich Smith: And I assume there's information on your website about where you can donate, how you can donate.

Theresa: Absolutely. We have a Facebook page as well, and you can connect with us on mosaicinfo.org to get more information on both our national work and our international work. And I would like to encourage people not to be intimidated by the travel or by the thought that, "Oh this is kind of out of my comfort zone", because I think Steve can attest to it that, that's probably the biggest hurdle for getting over there, and once you're there, you are going to feel so invited and welcomed. The food is great. The weather is actually really nice. It's a lot nicer than it is here in Nebraska, the Heizer and the 70's and 80's that... yeah, exactly, that time of year.

Theresa: And you get the opportunity to see Tanzania on a level that you wouldn't really normally get to, as well as we do... one of the things that we forgot to mention, is that we do a four day Safari, and you get the opportunity to go see the Ngorongoro Crater, which is absolutely amazing, as well as the Serengeti, which the game drives there, and the things you get to see are just kind of a unique experience that you can't really replicate anywhere else in the world.

Rich Smith: I think one of the things that I've learned about are traveling healthcare professionals and our nurses in general, is they are fearless.

Theresa: Yeah, well-

Rich Smith: 24 hours of flying, whatever.

Theresa: Yeah.

Rich Smith: So, I have no-

Theresa: No worries.

Rich Smith: ... no doubt about that whatsoever. So, I think it's just maybe just more information, and this is where we're going to start. Here in November, this is where we're going to start getting that information out. So, if you want any more information, reach out to your recruiter, talk to them first. They have direct access to Steve. Steve has direct access to Mosaic. Let's start that conversation right now, even if you can just help on the monetary piece, right?

Steve Ryan: Yep, it all helps.

Rich Smith: Awesome. Theresa, Charles, thanks for coming out.

Theresa: Thank you so much. Thanks.

Rich Smith: We really, really appreciate it.

Charles: Appreciate it.

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