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Mike Garr

 

Year Joined MKLM: 2017

Country: Kenya

City: Mombasa

Focus: Education, sustainable dev.

Project(s): Marianist Technical Institute (MTI), Mombasa

Population 1 Served: Youth

Description: tech school; teaching marginalized youth trade skills and business knowledge, along with counseling and spiritual guidance.

Vision:

To move youth from situations of destitution and dependency to situations of increased economic opportunity.

Mission:

To be with the local community to build a faith-inspired process of improving the lives of Bombolulu community and its environs through teaching marginalized youth trade skills and business knowledge, along with counseling and spiritual guidance.

Goal:

To assist marginalized youth with becoming self-employed or finding employment, enabling them to lead lives of respect, dignity and resourcefulness to themselves and the community they are serving.

Ministry:

Mike is a teacher-mentor in the catering department of MTI, which serves underprivileged youth. Catering is an intense one-year (plus a four-month attachment) program focusing on food production, dining room service and housekeeping. MTI’s approach focuses on maintaining self-discipline as well as being God-centered.

Personal Data:

“In my own life,” Mike says, “I have experienced several hardships that were the result of poor choices I had made. I have gone through a process of turning my life around and back to God. My greatest healing and joy has come from serving others especially those who cannot pay in return. I chose working with vulnerable Kenyan youth, hoping to encourage them in their hospitality industry pursuit and to mentor them by sharing my own life experiences.”

Mike was born in Michigan. He attended Central Michigan University for two years, then graduated after three years from the Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Arts Program in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. He spent 11 years working in various fine dining restaurants, country clubs and hotels. He then worked 30 years in sales for a food service company.

He was active at St. Michael’s Parish in Grand Ledge, Michigan, volunteered at homeless shelters and with Teen Challenge for men recovering from substance abuse, and served on a team that conducted weekend retreats for mid-life Catholic singles. Before becoming a Maryknoll lay missioner, he participated in short-term mission trips to Guatemala, Colombia and Belize. He has three adult children and twin granddaughters.