Seeley is thankful to have found Lakeland as the place to call home and grow his business, citing the small town feel and supportive, a close-knit community as reasons that he has been able to find success here.
“I have made many relationships here that would not have been possible elsewhere. People are actually paying attention to one another and care about local business,” he says glowingly. “It is also really wonderful that the city of Lakeland is seeking to honor people who are doing good in the community. It is a community that wants to do great and supports people that seek to make positive contributions.”
In a future vision for the city, Seeley hopes for long-term, sustainable solutions to homelessness in a way that cares for both the community at large and the homeless population as they fit into that community. He hopes the city will continue to be attentive to what people are saying, and go further in connecting people who want to make a difference with organizations that are championing the cause they care about.
“The city could even go into high schools or colleges and invite young people to get involved in various organizations that exist,” Seeley suggests. “This would be an encouragement to those organizations and also draw young people into causes that better the city.”
When it comes to speaking of his own influence on the Lakeland community, Seeley remains humble, citing the hard work of his homeless friends, his wife Kari, and others along with his own.
“As a ministry, we have learned the value of considering the community at large as we engage with the homeless. We do not see things merely from a homeless perspective, but also from a community perspective, and understand the tension that exists. I believe that the leaders are interested in doing this well and working towards a positive solution for the community as well as the homeless specifically.”
In following a passion, Seeley emphasizes the power of hard work and commitment. “Implement your dream slowly and show that you are committed to your vision,” he says. “Many people have ideas but to carry them out is hard work. Be prepared to put in the hard work required to make a long-term, quality contribution to your community.”