Steven O’Neill Gives Back | Methodist Children's Homes of MS Success Stories

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Steven O’Neill Gives Back

Steven O’Neill Gives Back

“People can’t grow to be better individuals if someone doesn’t give back.” Steven O’Neill, owner of the Manship Wood Fire Kitchen in downtown Jackson knows all about giving back, and that is what his mission to MCH has become.

“People can’t grow to be better individuals if someone doesn’t give back.” Steven O’Neill, owner of the Manship Wood Fire Kitchen in downtown Jackson knows all about giving back, and that is what his mission to MCH has become.

O’Neill met Mike Duggar, MCH’s President and CEO at a Rotary Club meeting, and the two became fast friends. Learning of MCH and the type of youth we serve, O’Neill decided to bless our youth with a dinner once a month at the Manship Wood Fired Kitchen. “I wanted to help use our restaurant and the services we provide as a reward system for the youth,” O’Neill stated. “At the first dinner, I talked to the youth about etiquette, business dinner meetings, and how to behave in a formal restaurant style setting.”

Our youth have just returned from their third dinner at the Manship, and it just seems to get better each time. Ms. Taylor, as staff member at the Wait’s Home said, “Our girls love going because it opens their eyes to a totally different restaurant style. It’s not McDonalds, and so they have to put their best foot forward. The food is always excellent too!”

The servers at the Manship are extremely patient with our youth, explaining the items on the menu and answering any questions they have. “It’s a learning experience for them as well, reading off the menu and being exposed to different types of foods.” Sandra Babbitt, Care Manager over the Wait’s Home stated. “The best part of the whole experience is that the servers bring sample appetizers for us to share and all the desserts they have made that day! It’s overwhelming and the same time, awesome!” a youth at the Seal Home said.

Having been adopted himself, O’Neill understands the struggles that our youth are faced with daily. “I was blessed to have been adopted when I was an infant, and my parents are absolutely amazing. I love and appreciate them greatly. I have been blessed in life, and so I have a desire to always pay it forward. I feel like the more I give, the more blessings I get, and so passing them (blessings) along is easy.”

O’Neill believes it’s important for youth to have a positive role model and that no matter what life has given you, under any circumstance, you can achieve greatness if you want it bad enough. O’Neill began working in the service industry at the age of 15. He has been everything from a bus boy to a server to a bar tender and now, finally, to owning his own restaurant. “It is a ‘self-made’ industry, and if you work hard enough, you can do it.”

By coming to Manship every month, O’Neill wants our youth to understand that there is life at the end of the tunnel. There are people in this town who are willing to help them along the way, that are cheering for them, and have their back. He doesn’t want ‘foster children’ to become another statistic. His dream is for them to do well and eventually be the one who can give something back to their community.

According to O’Neill, the best part of this whole experience is seeing them light up. “I love seeing their smiles, hearing them laugh and interacting with one another. They are having fun, but I am getting the reward. That is all the joy I need!”

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