By Heather DeRosa, Class of 2014
One of the great things about George Fox is the university has several different ways students can serve right here in the local community. There’s something for everyone, whether you can commit to an hour a week or a few hours on the occasional weekend, and whether you prefer working with the elderly, children, the homeless or just contributing some manual labor.
Coordinator: Kelsey Prentice
Adopt-A-Grandparent is a program where a George Fox student gets matched with a resident at Friendsview Manor, the retirement community across the street from Wheeler Sports Center. Students and their adopted grandparent meet for an hour every week, and on whatever day the pair agrees will work best for them. “They can take a walk, play games, talk, do whatever the two decide on together,” says coordinator Kelsey Prentice. “We all get together once a semester and throw a party.” For more information on how you can get involved or would like to matched with an adopted grandparent, contact Kelsey at email@example.com.
Coordinator: Lacey McNay
Much like Adopt-A-Grandparent, Little Bruins is a pairing program. George Fox students are paired by counselors in the school district with elementary or middle school students that are struggling socially or with various aspects of school. It is a once-a-week, hour-long commitment, plus occasional parties throughout the semester. “I think it’s a great way for college students to get outside of the George Fox community and into the Newberg community,” says coordinator Lacey McNay. “It’s a way to tangibly serve since it only takes about an hour a week. And the parties are a lot of fun.” If you have time for the commitment and would like to apply, visit this web page or contact Lacey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portland Coordinator: Mary Owen
Salem Coordinator: Steven Ching
Urban Services is a ministry that serves people who are on the streets in Portland and Salem. The hope is to build relationships and expose college students to the homeless community in both cities. They go every week to Portland and Salem on Friday nights, Salem on Saturday nights, and Portland again on Sundays. Students typically serve the homeless a meal, followed by a time of fellowship and relationship building with those in the homeless community. There really is no time commitment, other than showing up for prayer and conversation before loading up and heading off to the city. And don’t worry, your transportation is provided by the university. “It’s really valuable in the area of breaking down stereotypes,” explains Portland coordinator Mary Owen. Most students are surprised about the people they meet. It has been something that has helped changed the perspective of students about homelessness. A lot of students who come for the first time are nervous, but by the end of the year it’s hugs all around. It’s rewarding to see that change in students and in the people they are ministering to.” For more information on the Portland ministry, contact Mary at email@example.com, or Salem coordinator Steven Ching at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coordinator: Miranda D’Agostini
James Project partners with different organizations in the cities of Newberg, McMinnville and Yamhill. James Project mostly works with the organizations Faith in Action, as well as for the See Ya Later organization at Scotty’s Playhouse in McMinnville. On the typical James Project Saturday, students work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Unlike Adopt-A-Grandparent or Little Bruins, there is no commitment to return Saturday after Saturday. The ministry is mostly manual labor.
When the group heads to Faith in Action they do yard work, house cleaning, leaf raking, and other odd jobs for houses of the sick and elderly. They focus on being present with the people they are serving and showing them the love of Jesus. For Scotty’s Play House, they are relied on monthly by the ministry to keep the play house in order. They clean slides, clear out the tunnels, or whatever else the organization needs. “It’s a great opportunity to get involved – come when you can,” says coordinator Miranda D’Agostini. “It’s awesome to build community with the students you work with; you get to know their heart. You get to live out your faith in action. James Project gives you an opportunity to get off campus, work outside and serve Jesus.” The only commitment involved is emailing Miranda a few days before to make sure there is enough transportation and snacks for all the students attending. For more information, or to sign up for a Saturday, contact Miranda at email@example.com.
All of these campus-run ministries are great ways for students to give back to the community and get involved. These are just a few of the weekly opportunities. During Christmas and spring break, students also have the chance to go on serve trips to various locations. For more information on serve trips, contact Kaylena Charpentier at firstname.lastname@example.org.