We had the good fortune of connecting with Gwynn Browne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gwynn, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Our organization has provided a safe-haven for youth and the community to know that we are a place where they can come receive necessary resources for educational purposes, food insecurity needs, or for personal needs (a listening ear or direction to other resources that can better address their situations). We have also become a stable factor for outside communities to come and learn from us how we address the unique challenges of our community and be able to take their experiences back to their communities and have a different perspective in getting in touch with their individual communities. We partner with other organizations with similar purposes and concerns for their communities, which provides opportunities to serve a larger population by mobilizing volunteers from various economic levels.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I chuckled to myself when I remember being recruited for college to the Valley during the ’70s to increase the minority population. I purchased a student handbook and made an appointment with a college advisor to plan for a major and deciding exactly what year I wanted to graduate. The advisor left me with the impression he could care less about directing me, so using the handbook I purchased, I looked over all the majors, set my goal to finish college in 4 years, and decided upon Business Administration. I figured having some business knowledge may be useful no matter which field I would ultimately land, which it has proven to come in handy over the years. There have been many times I really wished I would have pursued my major passionately. Professionally, I have come to learn and accept and constantly evolving and must remain a life-long learner and take a variety of courses to keep abreast of our ever-changing world. I am so grateful to the men, women, young adults, and even the junior high school students. Each age bracket has been a blessing. The adults who have fulfilled their professional careers and now have the time and resources to “give back” to society through our work have provided valuable advice as well as sometimes monetary support was needed for a particular project or issue being addressed. The young adults who have served with us, have come with a razor-sharp focus on careers or areas of ministry they are going to pursue, seek our advice on how to begin, what to expect, or even should they seek another opinion as to their decision. Then when we have the junior high students (some compelled to attend for school service hours or with their youth group) having the opportunity to provide a service that may seem very menial leave with a new gain knowledge that every task provides tremendous support to the work that functions day in and day out, that otherwise wouldn’t get done because there isn’t any paid staff. It never ceases to amaze me, that God has sent just the right person, with specific skill-set needed us at the right time. I am so grateful for how He supplies our every need and sometimes exceeds our needs that we are able to share and be a blessing to others in ministry work or organizations helping to provide resources to our community. It is good to make plans for the day, so when LIFE happens, I have learned, it isn’t important whose idea gets followed as long as it accomplishes the goal for the greater good. And, in saying that, that brings to mind the point that good communication is vital to working cohesively with your partner or team. It is necessary to take time to plan and detail the action steps needed to complete tasks. The ability to be resourceful in using what is available to me has given us the capability to provide meaningful activities for our community and not to depend outside funding from grants. Mind you, grants would enable us to do so much more, but until that happens, we are here and will continue to do what needs to be done. To be here to see children grow up to become leaders in some of our programs lets me know, we are on the right path. There is so much more needed and we look forward to having possibly you join us on this journey. My husband has been a great influencer in my life, always demonstrating to me, our children, and any person working with us that we are to serve respectfully. Every person is valued and even when there are times a person may be under the influence of something, they are to be dealt with directly and made to know they have to respect our area and what we want for our community. Another valuable lesson I am learning is the importance of dedicating time to cultivating my friendships and the importance of self-care, especially when life brings on the new role and responsibility of being the major caregiver of a loved one. Hiking in a wooded area or open field, sensing the fragrances, listening to sounds of insects and animals makes me appreciate life and my Creator. How soothing is the sound of running water; it is calming, and refreshing. And checking off one special item on my bucket list is finally learning to swim and going on a sailing vessel on the open seas (with my life jacket on) for 3 to 5 days. For me, it really isn’t necessary for the world to know me personally, but my desire is to be the best and do the best I can for each individual I connect with each day. Our ministry can be likened unto an Emergency Room, where an injured or ill person comes in for treatment and then be released, perhaps never to be seen again. If I am remembered, I would want it to be said I was genuine, that I reflected the image of Christ
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have come to appreciate taking a relaxing stroll on the beach or window-shopping, which for me is like turning the pages of a magazine filled with items I admire. The flavorful food of Awash Restaurant on Pico Blvd. is wonderful for sharing a meal with friends and loved ones. LA has an abundance of places to stroll, hike of just cruise along the coast. I’m always ready for an advanture.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, my first Shoutout is to my Lord and Savior, who gave me my husband, Joe Browne. Joe is the visionary and I have done my best to support his vision. He also has directed me into areas I have felt ill-equipped, so with my meager faith and my God-given ability to “go with the flow” of life and it’s ever-changing situations, I have learned by trial and error and I have been so blessed to have some amazing people come into my life a key points to work with me and to teach me leadership skills and to greatly encourage me that I am doing things well. I am humbled to have people appreciate what I do and how I do the many varied tasked that are needed to keep our organization going. There are so many people who I have crossed paths and have impacted my life: ABCOFLASH, our Regional Office and Staff, Center for Student Missions, CRU Inner City-LA, Athletes in Action/USC, and Hope for LA. As for individuals, there are too many to mention all, but a few key people are Merry Strahan, Susan Searey, Val Peacock, my children, my sister, Phyllis and last but most importantly, my mom, Mrs. Dorothy J. Warren, who equipped me for life knowing that “there is always room for improvement” and my dad instilled in me that the best job to have is doing what I enjoy doing.
Facebook: Faith in Christ Ministries@FICMLA