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Tara Starrett, Strengthening Mosaic’s Ties to the Community

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benefit concert

You may have seen photos from the recent Brown Mackie College Mosaic Benefit Concert. What you may not have known is how Brown Mackie College became connected to Mosaic. This connection came about through Direct Support Professional, Tara Starrett.

Tara has been with Mosaic since May of this year. Before coming to Mosaic, Tara worked in a factory, putting in a lot of overtime hours while attending college as a full time business student. After sacrificing sleep she lost her job at the factory. As a single mother of five children, Tara felt hopeless. Her youngest child had just been diagnosed with medical issues. She continued school but did not want to go back to a factory.

Tara with her youngest son, Mason

Tara with her youngest son, Mason

She attended a job fair at Brown Mackie College to look for a business job. She came to the Mosaic booth and spoke to Mosaic staff about job opportunities for her daughter.

“I went into the office to talk to Jeff and Anne Marie about volunteering opportunities. I’ve always wanted to help people. I think it was God how it came about. I was going for a business degree because I wanted to open a Community Center like in Dowagiac,” she said.

Tara decided to work for Mosaic rather than volunteer. She said the reason she wants to open a community center is because she knows what it’s like to have no money and she wanted to provide a place for kids to have something to do.

“Jeff said it’s a good feeling helping others and you can’t really describe it. Now I know what he meant,” she said.

Once her project management class was assigned to choose a nonprofit agency as the recipient of their project, Tara instantly suggested Mosaic. Everyone agreed and the benefit concert began to take shape.

BMC Project Management Class

BMC Project Management Class

“Now I was able to help a lot of people. A few classmates filled out applications to Mosaic, we raised money and helped people get jobs. It wasn’t just me, but my classmates and teachers too. I talked to my classmates about doing another fundraiser next year on our own,” she said.

Paul Humphrey from BMC and Jeff Malcolm

Paul Humphrey from BMC and Jeff Malcolm

The class first spoke with the South Bend Cubs and asked to purchase tickets to resell to benefit Mosaic. The Cubs graciously donated tickets to the group and the tickets helped to fund the beginning set up of the benefit concert. A person Mosaic serves who is a Cubs fan was invited to throw out the first pitch of that game.

Tara and her classmates pulled off a benefit concert, complete with games, a raffle and silent auction within a short time period which is a huge undertaking.

Chris throwing the first pitch of the game!

Chris throwing the first pitch of the game!

“Milton a guy I take care of was really enjoying himself, smiling, dancing, and moving his arms. I was hoping the band had a CD so I could get it for him but they are still working on it. We all had a good time. I plan on staying with Mosaic after graduation. The guys at Cherry Tree, I probably learn more from them than they do from me. They bring out the best in me. I’m still in school full time and I’m picking up shifts now,” she said.

The class instructor was also impressed with the benefit concert but Tara remains humble.

“It was a fun experience and I had fun doing it. Our teacher said we blew the other class out of the water and we were the most rambunctious with risk taking. We took on a big event and pulled it off. We didn’t give up on it. Business is all about risk taking. And just before the concert started, I got emotional. I wanted to help people and now I’m finally doing it. I just feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I didn’t expect all of this. When someone says I’m doing an awesome job. I don’t see it that way. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to,” Tara said.


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