When we directly invest in, love on, encourage, and serve our staff at Cherish Uganda, we notice a remarkable difference in how our organization functions as a whole.
Leah Phillips and Ethel Kagoya have created the Impact team at Cherish Uganda to ensure that our staff feel known, loved, and cared for. The Impact team covers all things TLC; from finding ways to gift and surprise staff who need prayer and encouragement, to helping console any staff members who lose a family member by delivering letters and offering to plant a tree in memory of the lost loved ones.
Since a focus on discipleship is at our core, the people we work with are also the people that we do life with at Cherish Uganda. We have many operating parts, just like the body of Christ; people work together for a certain goal and Leah and Ethel are finding creative ways to uplift those who need a boost. The Impact Team gets to make each individual feel noticed and reminds them that they are an important piece of our community. This extension of love goes beyond the typical "employee of the month" kind of affirmations; the Impact team is getting creative with how they can encourage and uplift people in a unique, personal way.
Birthdays- Starting in 2016 our team began celebrating the birthdays of our staff on a new, more personal level. Each month we host a lunch for all of the staff whose birthdays were in that month. The Impact Team personalizes each feast, basing the menu on the favorite foods and drink of each attendee.
Teacher Joel welcomed in age 35 in March, and he told us at lunch that it "was a big day for him" because it was the first time he had ever celebrated his own birthday. Table conversation then evolved into hearing how many times each individual at the table had celebrated their birthdays, at what age they began celebrating, and how they found out that their birthday was on that specific date. W have come to realize that many of our staff, like Joel, have never celebrated their birthdays prior to these lunches, and it has been a joy to celebrate with them.
In addition to the monthly lunches, our team delivers birthday gifts to each staff member on the day of their actual birthdays.
Women's Day- Tuesday, March 8th, was International Women's Day. The following week we celebrated Women's Day at Cherish Uganda. All of our female staff gathered so that we could serve, encourage, and celebrate them. As Jesus Christ served His disciples by humbling himself to was their feet, our leadership team took the same posture and washed the feet of every woman.
Planting a Tree- We support and step alongside our staff with open ears and hearts when they lose a family member. Our Impact Team makes sure to reach out to the staff member with a letter and an offering: when a staff's family member passes, we are are giving our staff an option to have a tree planted in honor of their lost loved one. This idea is new, and is not required, but the response has been good. We had a staff member lose someone recently, and he said he found comfort in the idea, saying that he would go to water and care for that tree every day as a way to remember his family member.
We have thrown a few baby showers to celebrate our pregnant staff and their new arrivals. Within the past month we also celebrated our staff with Baby Dedications.
Kwagala Pre-school- To care for the staff even more, the Phillips family has opened their home and have dedicated a whole room of their house to be a pre-school for staff children. Since the Phillips have a 4-year-old daughter, they saw her need for home-school to be an opportunity to invite more children into their space so that they could also learn in a creative environment. Staff members, or their spouses, drop their children off at Kwagala pre-school to be taught, fed, and loved.
Other forms of TLC include offering small gifts and letters of encouragement.
If you are gifted in pastoral care and have any ideas that you would like to share with us on how we can go the extra mile in caring for our staff, please comment on this post below