Agency helps to build people up
The annual TEEM Builders’ Luncheon on May 11 raised $128,000 to undergird the work of The Education and Employment Ministry.
Related to The United Methodist Church, this non-profit organization in Oklahoma City extends "a hand up" to help people secure better jobs. TEEM is directed by UM clergyman Tony Zahn.
Luncheon speaker Deneese McLaughlin recalled when she and her 14-year-old daughter were homeless. A church provided them transportation from a Salvation Army shelter to worship services. During one trip, the driver told McLaughlin that TEEM staff threw her a graduation party when she received her GED diploma.
"They got her a cake and everything," McLaughlin remembered. "I said to myself, ‘What can I do to get that?’"
She went to TEEM for help. Today, she is employed and is buying a home.
Rev. Zahn said the ministry served 716 people last year. The organization is seeking to help more people attain their GED diplomas and is developing a database to better track students’ progress.
Major gifts announced at the luncheon were from the Kaiser Family Foundation, $25,000; Josephine Freede, $5,000; and the Kerr Foundation, with a $5,000 matching grant. The event was at the Oklahoma History Center, near the Capitol.