The JP UP Date: JP Launches New Website

Katie ArnoldThe JP UP date

Number 78                            July 31, 2020                                   St. Louis

Justine PETERSEN’s New and Improved Website Goes Live Today!

Justine PETERSEN launched a new website today! It was time for a fresh coat of paint. We feel the new website will be more mobile friendly when accessing from a phone and will allow clear navigation so that you can find the information that you are looking for with relative ease. The new website will include a “Shop Local” feature that allows you the chance to acquaint yourself with Justine PETERSEN small business clients. And soon, we will have a fully functioning payment portal for our borrowers to make payments online. We are in the process of building out a few other sections of the website, but today is the day to read about recent success stories and find out what’s new at Justine PETERSEN. Check it out:

The Pandemic Diaries: Redefined

The Pandemic Diaries was a weekly reflection penned by individual Justine PETERSEN staff members in the style of journaling, chronicling the daily reality of working from home in the wake of Covid-19.  In light of us fighting the long entrenched pandemic of structural racism and inequality, the series will now include diary submissions reflecting on what it means to live in a world that is unjust, and what can and should be done for “cultural course correction.” This week’s diary entry is written by Trina Roberson, Loan Fund Associate at Justine PETERSEN.  

It is my honor to speak on behalf of Justine Petersen in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  I’ve been with Justine Petersen for 15 years and I feel that the family culture provided for employees helps with dealing with our current state. The JP garden was one of the best things that happened to me. I’ve actually changed my eating habits for the better and I enjoy it. Kudos to the garden team for keeping this going. I was given an opportunity to change my way of thinking – and eating.

Though we are to practice social distancing, we are not totally secluded from each other and I believe the personal interactions makes a difference in effective communication. With that being said, as employees we must also be vigilant to whom we are in contact with.

In regards to racial injustice and inequality, my opinion is that we must be careful how we interpret these issues. There are systematic issues in regards to racial injustice in the world, but as individuals we must be critical when making judgements against others in this moment in time. It’s ok to have an opinion but remaining transparent is more important.

As far as cultural course correction, I believe we should just work on being better people. Right now it seems that most people on social media are offended about something. People are also changing their minds as to who they should congregate with or be involved with. Some people are irritated, confused and don’t know what to believe, and some people are being drawn closer together. My only advice is that we keep our faith and believe everything will work out accordingly.

But it’s not just that. We should also know how to foster our feelings in an appropriate manner when having discussions that involve a need for compassion, empathy and emotional intelligence. As a community-based organization, we have a duty to make sure our employees and clients have access to these types of resources during this pandemic. If any of us are in the position to make positive change, now is the time. This is also a time where reality must set in and we should be grateful for our relationships and everything that we still have.

There will be many more obstacles in the future. Schools are being broken into now since they’ve been vacant for quite some time and I’m still waiting to hear from my school district about the changes for the upcoming school year for my daughter. So many things are in question, but I’ve learned to stay humble in the process and not allow fear and negative emotions to contribute to decisions that affect my life.

Since I’ve been working from home it’s been quite an adjustment.  I’ve transitioned well, but I had no idea I would end up buying a coffee pot. Helping out with Payment Support I’ve had contact with clients who are personally affected by the pandemic. I’ve also been held on the phone for a whole hour because the client needed someone to talk to. I offer them words of encouragement and let them know that we are here to help.

2020 Metro East Start-Up Challenge First Round Executive Summaries Due August 9

It’s time for the annual Metro East Start-Up Challenge! Each year the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) SIUE & East St. Louis presents the Metro East Start-Up, a competition for financing open to all business ideas and established businesses less than three years old located within the St. Louis Metro East region. Winners will share a $20,000 prize package and in-kind services provided by Carol Sparks (legal services), KEB (accounting services), Tech Fusion (website design), and Jay Beard of the Lodge Coworking Space. First round executive summaries are due August 9th.
Learn More Here

Cagebirds Watch Party is Tomorrow, August 1!

Cagebirds is a production that is occurring at JP’s Greencubator on St. Louis Riverfront. In this extraordinary play, a “room” and a “cage” and “people” and “captive birds” all become confused until a dramatic climax in which we suddenly see reality. Six women live in a locked room, each absorbed in her own petty interest and in placating the “Mistress” who takes care of them. Then a “Wild One” is thrust in among them. She talks of breaking out of the room to find freedom. She troubles the others who remain secure in their cage, and they all join against her in the shattering conclusion to this unforgettable play that offers eight actresses an unusual opportunity. Join the watch party on August 1 at 1:00 pm by joining here. And feel free to make a donation to the Greencubator, which is donating the space, clicking here.