Mission850 Helps Others Serve

by Cheryl Cronbaugh
Dot Wagner, leader of Mission850 Dot Wagner, leader of Mission850

BAY COUNTY, FL - Mission850 – Mobilizing Teens to Serve

Dot and Nick Wagner are seeking to help teens change their world and their perspective. Dot says she believes we can teach kids to become lifelong volunteers and truly help their community. In return they help themselves. She believes we have told kids for too long, “pursue happiness” which keeps them focused on themselves and in the end makes them sad and hopeless. She says they need to get out of themselves and focus on others.

In Mission850, they focus on getting kids helping others whether that is cleaning gutters, pulling weeds, trimming the bushes, mowing the grass or scrubbing windows for an immobile person or a single mother of six. She doesn’t want to take them to a warehouse to pack boxes as much as she wants them to experience real people having real struggles. It has a greater impact and can be life changing. Currently their focus is the Gulf Coast and Louisiana.

Mission850 has also taken groups to tornado and hurricane damaged communities. She says our kids get what that devastation feels like, so they have more empathy for those new to the experience. She has taken groups to work in places damaged by Hurricane Idalia, to Fort Myers after Hurricane Ida and to Louisiana after Hurricane Erma. In fact, Mission850 was kickstarted after Hurricane Michael. They also helped after the tornado in Panama City Beach and Bayou George. Feeding the homeless has been a project too.

In their work Nick handles the work teams with tools and direction. Dot takes on the role of dealing with people. Volunteers pitch in to help and lead. They provide each student a T-Shirt with Mission850 on it to help them be recognized where they are working and to help them feel part of a team. Most work requires unskilled labor, but the kids are learning about tools as they work. If skilled labor is required, she will post that need on Facebook. They have a trailer of tools and work gloves as well so a school or church can utilize these tools.

Dot says her goal is to have teams volunteering every Saturday of the year. While she has some great volunteers, they will need more to meet that goal. She also needs churches to work with her particularly youth pastors. Mission850 doesn’t belong to a single church. Instead, they are an independent, faith-based organization seeking to give students an opportunity to serve. Dot suggests every church doesn’t need to plan their own local mission trip when she already has enough work for them to do here. She has become a center for contacts of people in need. She already knows who needs help. A youth pastor could contact her, and she can send them in the right direction without them spending a lot of time searching and planning. Dot says she sees herself as the “travel agent” of work to be done.

She also encourages people to contact her when they hear of a need in our area, or if they have a need where an adult-led team could help.

Mission850 has a volunteer board, a secretary and a treasurer and are a designated 501c3. They do not have a physical office but will respond as quickly as possible from their virtual office.

Watch Dot explain Mission850 on YouTube: https://rb.gy/n9u65h

Read more about Mission850 on their website: www.Mission850.com

On Facebook, search Mission850, and see projects or needs mentioned