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Each month we like to highlight an employee who exemplifies the mission, philosophy, and values of our organization. This month we are delighted to highlight Sofia Tongson as our Employee of the Month.
Sofi faithfully serves as Operations Manager at our Restoration Roasters coffee shop in Corona. She not only keeps our coffee shop running smoothly, but also makes a mean latte! She serves up coffee in addition to managing a team of baristas made up of volunteers and residents of our Corona Norco Rescue Mission, teaching them valuable skills that they can use to gain employment in the craft coffee industry! It is an honor to serve alongside of you, Sofi!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Sofia Tongson and I grew up in Lake Matthews, California. I like to write, draw, and travel to different coffee shops and museums.
How long have you worked at the Rescue Mission/Restoration Roasters? How did you hear about the job opportunity?
The end of November will be 3 years that I will have worked at Restoration Roasters! Wow! Someone I know from Plain Joe Studios, the company that designed Restoration Roasters, told me about the job opportunity. I was already working at another coffee shop part time. It was right down the street from Restoration Roasters!
What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy the atmosphere the most, and getting to engage and meet all kinds of different people. Coffee shops in general can be a hub for creativity and inspiration, which I love, and I like that this is an active job where I don’t feel grounded to a desk all day.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Learning to manage people can be challenging. Getting everyone on the same page, to care about their work as much as you do, and holding them to the same standard can be difficult, especially since everyone communicates and perceives things in different ways. Some people can be hard-headed, others can be sensitive, others can be receptive – it’s learning to adapt to different personality types and communicating in a way that is effective.
How have you grown since you began working at Restoration Roasters?
It has been rewarding to be able to work my way up to a position as manager, and be trusted with that type of responsibility. I started as a shift lead, then an assistant manager, and now I am the operations manager. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to learn things about myself and others that I didn’t know before, along with the set of challenges that come with it.
What is your favorite verse?
Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” and Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The Colossians verse has to do with attitude – that when we work we are working for God, not man. This verse has been pivotal in my spiritual development and work ethic. It has gotten me through some of the most difficult times because of how it reminds me of my motivations. Why do I work hard? For myself or for God? It has taught me to maintain integrity in everything and understand how God desires us to live and work, not for self-gratification or the praise of other people, but for God’s glory.
The Galatians verse lists the fruits of the Spirit, the qualities I desire to live out every day. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control – all of these are qualities that Christians should be recognized by. Not by politics or social standing, but by the work we do and way we do it.
What motivates you on the tough days?
I remind myself that the tough days are only temporary, that better days are ahead. There is a reason for everything and even though we may not like to experience growth or change (because often times it requires us to be humble, trusting, patient, or forgiving when we don’t want to be), it is the best thing that can happen to us. Most of the time, the greatest things we will ever learn about God and ourselves is through hardship, and out of the storm comes learning and growth. And it’s because of that prospect that makes the experience worth it. It’s all about attitude and how you perceive the circumstances that may befall you. Are you going to take it as a impassable barrier or rather as an obstacle that you could work through? Stay hopeful, stay humble, stay positive, and stay grounded, rooting yourself in the Word to keep you committed to God’s standards.
Join Sofia and her coworkers!
Orange County Rescue Mission is a great place to work! Go to RescueMission.org and click on Employment to learn more about our current job opportunities.
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