Charity Spotlight: Make Your Mark

May 15, 2018

Love. Serve. Build. These are the three principles that drive the work of Make Your Mark Ministries.

Trent and Carmen Post started Make Your Mark in their home in Charlotte, North Carolina before feeling led to pick up their lives and move to Ethiopia. Their family soon grew to include the children they now work with living on the streets of the capital city, Addis Ababa. This couple is uniquely gifted to share their real, raw lives with street boys who are searching for love and a family.

Make Your Mark begins with an intensive day program that enables boys living on the street to change their lives, while ultimately providing them with a safe space to cover their basic needs like bathing and eating, while also giving them elementary education, counseling, and Biblical teaching. They are given care and attention with the goal of reuniting them with their families. When that is not an option, due to abuse or economic factors, Make Your Mark has set up family units of four to five children to care for the boys and teach them how to grow and develop in a healthy family.

This is not easy work. Many of these boys left home due to extreme abuse only to find themselves facing horrific violence on the streets, while quickly becoming addicted to sniffing glue. Glue is cheaper than food and calms the pangs of hunger, while providing an escape from the realities of their daily lives.

Despite these challenges, Make Your Mark loves these young men through their pain. Trent and Carmen work alongside local staff who are fully integrated with their community and understand the culture from an insider’s perspective.

In addition to the work Make Your Mark does with street boys, they also work in the area of prevention. Building sustainable, local economic opportunities has proven an effective method in decreasing many of the risks faced by women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant without the financial means of caring for a child. Make Your Mark sells locally roasted coffee (which Ethiopia is famous for) to generate an income for Abi, a mother they work with. Another woman, Jerry, makes gorgeous leather products, such as bags and earrings, which MYM sells so that she can also better her economic status for her daughter. The Make Your Mark hair salon is one of the only in Addis Ababa that caters to foreign women with hair unlike the local ladies, which provides them a unique competitive advantage.

Make Your Mark also works in Ethiopia to empower locals to care for orphans. They assisted in founding the DEBO Alliance which works to improve local orphan care and seek solutions. In early 2018, the country of Ethiopia closed international adoption, while plans for prevention and local options remain unclear. Ministries and NGOs like Make Your Mark have stepped in to empower the local community to take on this enormous challenge.

Through their holistic approach, Make Your Mark balances prevention with solving the problems that are already in play in order to encourage long-term change. To learn more about the extensive work they do, visit myminternational.org.

Hannah Edington is a writer, teacher, and an entrepreneur living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her long-term goals include writing about life in developing nations, working with widows and single moms to starts businesses, and starting a family with her soon-to-be husband.