At the core of who we are as a company is our mission to help people find their way Home. Not only through building houses, but by reaching people for Christ and giving to the Kingdom. A vital piece of how we fulfill this is our company ministry branch, JH Reach. Today we hear from our very own JH Reach team, Megan Gaither and Melody Holmes, about various outreaches and initiatives JH Reach has been apart of this year, and how it's impacting our communities both locally and globally. Find out how you can be apart of this impact by partnering with JH Reach to reach people in your very own community.
S3_Ep9 What's Ahead for JH Reach in 2022 (Megan Gaither and Melody Holmes).mp3
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Homes. Join hosts, Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:19] Thank you for joining us on today's episode of the Welcome Home Podcast. I'm Whitney and I've got Chelsi here with me.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:26] Hello!
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:27] Today, we have some special guests that we know, love and work with, They're here to give us a little mid-year update. Chelsi, why don't you tell us who we've got?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:39] We've got one returning guest, Megan Gaither. Hi, Megan.
Megan Gaither: [00:00:44] Hi!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:45] We have a new guest, Melody Holmes.
Melody Holmes: [00:00:47] Hello!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:48] Both of these ladies work with JH Reach. We've had JH Reach on the podcast before and we talked about lots of things, but basically it's the ministry arm for the Family of Companies. There's a lot of really cool things that they do. We like to get them in once or twice a year to say,"hey, here's what we've been doing recently. Here's what we have coming up. Here's how you, listener, can get involved if you want." I know we're in the home building business, but like John says, "we're in the people business."
Whitney Pryor: [00:01:17] That's right.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:17] More than the home building business, so it's just a really important part of what we do in our culture here. We like to share that with everyone and kind of share those stories. Sometimes it gets people involved or is inspiring for others to do that in their marketplace, so just some cool updates from these ladies. Melody has actually been with the company for several years, but is officially, fully on the JH Reach Team. Let's kick it off with Melody, tell us who you are and give us some background info.
Melody Holmes: [00:01:47] Sounds good. My name is Melody Holmes and I've been with the company for almost four years. I am the JH Reach Operations Manager. For a few years, I had a couple of different roles assisting our Executive Team, a few of them, and then also working with JH Reach. This year, I moved full time to JH Reach, took on a more prominent role and just living out the mission of JH Reach.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:02:14] Well Megan, tell us a little bit about yourself.Megan Gaither: [00:02:16] Yeah, I am the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. I plan our outreaches, mission trips and the engagement part. We have the purpose of Reaching People for Christ and Giving to the Kingdom. In my job, I partner with our local and global nonprofits. I always get to see the impact that our employees have on them. But our employees, if we don't communicate that to them, then they don't really see what they get to do. That's a big part of my job, is showing them this is your impact and then just communicating with our employees what JH Reach has coming up throughout the year. A big thing that we try to get our employees involved in is just serving locally. Kind of a recap of April is we've had two outreaches and we have one this weekend. Our employees made love boxes with Embrace Grace. These boxes are going to be given to women who are considering abortion. In the box, there's a book that the girls can read about women who have gone through the same thing, a onesie that says best gift ever and kind of a connect card. Once those boxes were made, I was able to take it to Red Oak High School. I talked to the counselor and she was telling me, "yeah, we currently have four young girls who are pregnant and some of them are considering abortion." Our employees, they made the boxes, but without me communicating what happens to them or even the stories. We're praying and hoping that there are God stories that are coming out of these boxes. With our relationship with Red Oak and me staying in contact with the counselor, she can say, "hey, this girl hopefully did decide to keep her baby and it's because you made a box for her."
Chelsi Frazier: [00:04:27] I love that. For us as employees, there are several ways we can get involved. You can give financially, you can give your time serving out in the community, you can give your time serving in the office through making boxes, or there's been other things throughout the year. You can serve on a mission trip. We've all done a few of those things, so it's actually really cool. I've never worked at a place where I could also give back in such an easy connection, such a transparent way of knowing what's available and what I can do.
Melody Holmes: [00:05:03] Yeah, for sure. Our our goal is to have different options for our employees to get involved. Not everybody has ample time to go serve on a weekend at one of our nonprofits. Some employees may not be able to financially, so we'd like to offer different opportunities for our employees to get involved with the heart and mission of the Family of Companies. During this Ukraine situation, we want to give our employees that have a heart for that to be able to give to it. We partner with organizations that we trust that are really doing a great work over there, so then we give them opportunities to give. It's beautiful to see the heart of our employees, what they're passionate about and what they will give too. On the flip side, those that want to serve and then their heart for that. We try to just really include our employees of, "hey JH Reach is not just our team, but it's the whole Family of Companies. What you do matters and it's making an impact. Like we said, we want to share that with them.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:09] Yeah, what I really love is that I can trust that it's a vetted, reputable organization. Sometimes whenever you want to give in your community, nationally or globally, you don't really know where that money's going or you're trusting that it's going in the right way or your time or whatever. I think that's one thing I really love about this organization, our organization, because the time and the resources have gone into ensuring that it's the right partner and good partners.
Melody Holmes: [00:06:39] For sure, that's a big deal for us. We have a giving strategy and so there's so many amazing organizations out there that we would love to partner with, but we've kind of narrowed it down so that we're not just a flood, but we're a river. There's four areas that we focus on are giving. It's with equipping the next generation, so with Embrace Grace, that is focusing on the next generation, the local church, the word of God and the marketplace ministry. We try to be very strategic. Then again, there are organizations that we partner with so that they are reputable, that we see the fruits of the funds and time that we give to.
Megan Gaither: [00:07:22] One thing that I do admire about our leadership team, Bobby and John and all of the Executives, is that we really want to invest in long term relationships and not necessarily give handouts, not that that's a bad thing. With kind of one of our biggest partners, One Hope, we've been partners with them since we've both been working and Enlace. We want to build lifelong relationships with our partners, as well as, our employees or our buyers, so that's what I admire too.
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:01] Can you kind of fill us in on how JH Reach started and where that was kind of born from?
Melody Holmes: [00:08:07] Sure. It came from our owners, John and Tracy Houston, and their heart to Reach People for Christ and Give to the Kingdom. I believe it just started with their desire to do that, but needing some assistance, time and energy for that, so they hired Bobby Parks, our leader. He came on board and just really helped be an asset to them in doing that, Giving to the Kingdom and Reaching People for Christ. Our team formulated around their heart, their mission and what did JH Reach look like. There are not many organizations that have this kind of department within their organization. I know they did some research of what that might look like in other organizations and then sculpted it to what fit John and Tracy's heart.
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:59] Really, John and Tracy made the business so that they could have the funds to have an organization like JH Reach. It wasn't the other way around, right? JH Reach was always the end goal for them, I think. It's been neat even just in the past four years of being here, seeing how the company has been able to grow JH Reach. Also, he's been able to take that and run with it or encourage other businesses to do the same thing. Not only having it here, but also hoping that other businesses will model the same kind of organization that we have here where ministry is such an important part of that.
Melody Holmes: [00:09:44] Oh, for sure. It's a beautiful thing to see it day in and day out because it's not just for global and local nonprofits, but it's for our employees. Let us love on you guys, let us care for you guys and then let's do the ripple effects outside of our organizations. I do love that John is sharing it with other organizations, this is what we do and this is our heart. It's beautiful to see their passion and desire put into a workplace and mesh the two. It's not like one or the other, it's both.
Whitney Pryor: [00:10:21] Yeah.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:10:21] Yeah because I think when you have a healthy, supportive workplace and career, then you're able to take that home. You're not going home with this struggle and stress. I mean, we all do, it's going to happen, but it's just different. Your kids see it, your spouses see it, your community and just like you said, ripple effects, so it's really cool. Why do you think that it's been important for our company leaders to have a ministry? I say arm and yall have said leg, but you know, the ministry appendage for The Family of Companies. Why do you think that's been such an important focus?
Melody Holmes: [00:11:04] We do work for a company. We are a business, so there's work that needs to get done and taken care of. I think it's awesome that there is a dedicated team that is there to care. We do lean on the leaders to let us know if they hear something about their employee that is going through a difficult time like, "hey, my employee's house caught on fire," like true story. They let us know so that we can reach out, pray for them and see what do they need? We can be that support to them. It's not just falling on the leaders to care for the employee, because they're also trying to run companies. They can help rely on us to provide the prayer, the care of the needs and the reaching out. We hired a Chaplain around a year ago, Brad Parsley. That's even just an extra arm or leg to care for our employees and just be available for them. At times, there's so much going on in our employees lives that we may not be able to be aware of or they may not know what JH Reach offers, even though we can send lots of communication out. The leaders here can say, "Hey, did you know that JH Reach offers this?" One thing that we offer that I love that our leaders know about, it's called a Generous Love Fund. If our employees go through a financially difficult time, they can apply for some financial help. Again, we like to have our leaders know what we offer so they can say, "hey, I heard that you're going through a difficult time. Go to JH Reach, apply for this fund, and then can help you. I think it's just beautiful to be in partnership with leaders to then help serve our employees beneficially.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:00] Well, let's talk about some things that are coming up this year. What do we have as far as mission trips go and outreach?
Megan Gaither: [00:13:08] Yeah, so we have three mission trips scheduled this year. Our first ever Young Professionals mission trip, that I am personally super excited for. We're going to Los Angeles in June to the Red Eye Center. We're going to Costa Rica with One Hope in July and then El Salvador with Enlace in October. Those are the mission trips that we're going on. In April, we did an April serve month and we want to do that again in August. We'll kind of just sprinkle outreach opportunities throughout the whole year. We love to stay busy, but it's good, so that's kind of what we're looking forward to this year.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:56] What's that age cutoff for young professionals?
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:59] I felt old when I saw it. I'm like, "am I you? Am I not?!"
Megan Gaither: [00:14:03] Okay, so the only thing that I will say, which Bobby Bobby said this at an All Staff once, he was like, "okay, well if you're considering or if you're asking yourself am I in the Young Professionals group, you probably are not."
Chelsi Frazier: [00:14:18] Yeah, that's why I didn't actually ask. I thought, okay, I'm probably not in that cut off.
Megan Gaither: [00:14:24] One thing that I love seeing, because I just turned 25, which I'm kind of halfway there, but there's more young people throughout our company. It just brings our company more alive, so I love that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:14:40] Well, and yall have seen that, so you're creating opportunities for that age group. You're finding an interest. Literally, anywhere you are in your stage of life, age, walk and your faith, there's something. You don't even have to be a believer to go help paint or clean up.
Megan Gaither: [00:15:04] Yeah. Melody was talking about our giving requirements and the Next-Gen is one of them. John is really passionate about building up young leaders. Even looking towards the future, I'm excited because the Executive Team and high level leaders really want to pour into these young professionals. We're looking at doing like a mentorship class. It's just cool when you know the heart of our leader and he actually plays it out. He's not too busy to care for his employees.
Whitney Pryor: [00:15:45] We've also done some really fun things just with employees. I know recently, we had the big Easter Egg Hunt. Can you tell us kind of what all you guys do with the employees?
Melody Holmes: [00:15:56] For sure! We like to provide different opportunities for our employees, some that are just fun and then others that are a little bit more spiritual based. The most recent one that we had was an employee Easter Egg Hunt at our founder John and Tracy's home. It's kind of just like a gift for our employees and their families. Please bring out your kids. We'll have tons of Easter eggs, we'll have bounce houses and we'll have food trucks. t provides an opportunity for families to come together before the busyness of the Easter weekend. We like to put on moments like that throughout the year just to be a blessing to our employees. Prior to that, we came off a series of something we like to call "Home Teams".
Chelsi Frazier: [00:16:41] Loved Home Teams!
Melody Holmes: [00:16:42] It's just a time for our employees. It's all volunteer based, so they can choose to sign up for certain topics that we have chosen. They meet with their employees that are from all over the place. We have some employees working from home and some that are in different towns. It's cool to bring employees together and talk about a topic that they want to grow in. It ranges from 4 to 8 weeks of just meeting during the lunch hour. We have amazing leaders within our company that help lead those. It just really strengthens individuals personally, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, whatever the topic may be. We like to find different opportunities just to pour into our employees wherever they're at, whether it's, again, faith based or not faith based. That is something that is important to us. We also offer monthly prayer opportunities where we do it virtually. We share a small devotion and then pray together, just to encourage our employees. Even through that time, throughout the month, we encourage our employees. If you have a prayer request, please let us know and we'll pray for you guys, family member or friend. Then, we follow up with them and just check on them. We try to offer different things throughout the year. We will have some fun summer activities. We will have a family movie night. We will offer classes like financial peace, so those that want to grow and their finances, we'll offer that class. We'll also offer marriage. We have two Marriage Retreats this year.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:18:32] Oh, two!
Melody Holmes: [00:18:32] Two yes, it's very popular and we love that. We have one in May and one in October. We will also have a Men's Retreat and a Woman's Retreat. We try to do two events, one that's a smaller conference that we will go to and one that we put on ourselves. We just try to provide opportunities throughout the year for our employees to connect, engage and feel empowered.
Megan Gaither: [00:18:52] One of my favorite things that we started doing last year was Birthday Boxes.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:18:59] Oh, yes!
Megan Gaither: [00:19:00] I think it was Brad that came up with the idea or okay, it was Melody. I won't say what's in the box, since there may be an employee who hasn't gotten one yet.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:15] Mine's coming up!
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:16] I know mine's coming up at the end of the month!
Megan Gaither:[00:19:18] I won't say what's in the say what's in the box. If it's an employee who doesn't work here in Red Oak, we'll mail it to them, but if it is, then we go around and surprise them with a box. Brad throws confetti and yells at them.
Melody Holmes: [00:19:32] He's very passionate about that!
Megan Gaither: [00:19:34] I know! He is very passionate about how to do it.
Melody Holmes: [00:19:37] If we do it wrong, he will let us know that we did it wrong.
Megan Gaither: [00:19:39] Yeah!
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:40] He's like joy in human form. He's loud and happy!
Megan Gaither: [00:19:45] He's really a joyful, hope-filled, loving guide.
Melody Holmes: [00:19:49] He's a great chaplain for our company.
Megan Gaither: [00:19:52] Yeah, with the Birthday Boxes, I see it as a gesture to show our employees, hey, we actually see you, we love you and we care about you. It always surprises me about how surprised they are to get a box or expect something. It's just that little gesture that goes such a long way to showing our employees that we really do care about them.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:19] Well is there anything else that you want people to know about JH Reach before we wrap it up?
Melody Holmes: [00:20:25] I think there's just a few more things that I would love, if our employees are listening to this and just even ideas for those listening that we offer to our employees. One thing that anybody can sign up for this, but it's called Right Now Media. It's like a Netflix of resources, whether spiritual or not spiritual, but for leadership development, conflict resolution, your children, how to parent or tips for parenting, how to grow in faith or mental health. It's a really cool resource for anybody listening, they can access it. It's a subscription, but for our employees we give it to them as a gift. We highly encourage that. We base all our Home Teams off of it. It's just a really cool resource that we provide and I think it's awesome for people to know about. I had no idea about Right Now Media until I came to the company, so that's something that I definitely wanted to highlight.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:21:18] Yeah, I love it because you can download the app and even though it's video, you can listen to it as a podcast, coming and going to work, because you know how much time we spend in our cars. You can watch it or just listen to it.
Melody Holmes: [00:21:33] For sure.
Whitney Pryor: [00:21:34] Anyone can access that on their own, even if they're not employees. It does, it has some great things in there. I've found some great things with parenting, how to deal with conflict resolution and things like that. It's just really neat. Some of them are 4 to 6 episodes long and so you have different lessons of each one, so super, super cool.
Megan Gaither: [00:21:58] This is for employees and non employees. If any of y'all are interested in volunteering or getting involved, you can find the specific partners or the organizations that we partner with at jhreach.com/localreach. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. With those organizations, you can serve any time that you want, whatever works for you. One thing that I would suggest, that I currently do weekly, is Mentors Care. They are an amazing organization. All they ask of you is one hour a week. You meet with a student, an at risk youth. They give you a booklet with conversation topics, so that you don't have to walk in and think, "okay, I don't know what to relate to this kid on." They make it so easy that all you have to do is show up, love and encourage these students. I find joy in it every week. The employees of Mentors Care are just amazing. One thing for our employees is, our HR department and our Executive Team, actually gives our employees PTO days to serve and for growth. You can use that if you want to go on a mission trip or any of the retreats. You can take advantage of that for yourself.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:23:32] You don't have to take your vacation days.
Melody Holmes: [00:23:34] Right, which is beautiful. Something that's important to John and Tracy is God first, family second and then work. This is a way of implementing that, save your PTO days for your family, then you can use these extra days to help serve and then also get re-filled for yourself personally. If anybody wants to know more about JH Reach, we have our website jhreach.org. It has everything about what we do, who we partner with, how to give, how to serve and what we offer to our employees, so that's a great place to go and learn more about us.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:24:09] Well, that's great. Thank you so much. You've given us a lot of updates on things that we've been doing and have coming up. Another good refresher on what JH Reach is and the mission and vision behind it, so thank you.
Melody Holmes: [00:24:22] Thank you for having us!
Megan Gaither: [00:24:23] Thank you!
Whitney Pryor: [00:24:24] Yes, thank you so much for joining us. If you'd like more information about how you can get involved, we will link in the show notes to all of the information about JH Reach. Again, you can reach them at email@example.com. If you'd like more information about our company in general, feel free to give us a call at 866.237.7803. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, or you can reach out to us through email, as well. We look forward to having you on another episode of the Welcome Home podcast.
Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor: [00:25:02] Welcome Home.