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Over the past 20 years, Operation New Hope has delivered qualified, trained, and vetted candidates to over 400 Employment Partners in Northeast Florida. Since opening our new St. Augustine program location in March, our Ready4Work St. Johns County team has been hard at work building connections and partnerships with employers in the community to ensure quality, living-wage placements for our clients. We are thrilled to spotlight one of our newest employment partners – Maple Street Biscuit Company.
We sat down with Emilee O’Kelley, Maple Street’s Community Leader at their Old City location, to talk about why she believes in second chances (or more correctly, why she doesn’t believe in just second chances – she believes in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chances!)
“After struggling to find qualified candidates for several months, I was feeling so frustrated, so I finally offered it up to God,” Emilee told us. “I told him I don’t care who comes through those doors as long as it’s his people. And not 15 minutes later, I received a phone call from Operation New Hope explaining their Ready4Work program and telling me they have people willing to work. It was an answered prayer! As soon as I saw Janette’s Ready4Work resume, I knew she would fit in with who we are as a company and that this was a perfect partnership.”
“What I love about Operation New Hope is that you don’t just give people a second chance, you give them a fresh lease on a new life. Operation New Hope helps people find hope.” Emilee paused and smiled before adding, “If God only gave second chances, we would all be in big trouble! That’s why I believe in third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chances.”
“At Maple Street we aren’t a biscuit company – we’re a community store. We believe in offering grace. The amount of opportunities that this company gives you to grow and become better with grace is astounding. We don’t try to hide behind anything and everyone on the team earns the right to do the things they get to do.”
“I believe in gracious service. I’ve been given grace so I can show it to others. I lead by loving on people and letting them know that everyone is broken – nobody’s perfect. I strongly believe that if you are willing to grow from your mistakes, you can do anything in this world.”
Maple Street Biscuit Company is truly living up to their mission to “Help People, Serve Others, Be a Part of the Community.” We are thankful for their partnership and look forward to working together to help people make the most of their second chances.