This is the newsletter article I wrote for UC’s September Newsletter. It was followed up in November with an article I posted here and called “What do you love?”
This summer my kids and I took a lot of adventurous trips. Every time I packed a little bag and told them to get their shoes on I heard the same question: “Where are we going?” My kids want to begin with the end in mind, they want to know the plan and since I’m a mom with a plan it works out very well. Then like so many cliché children in tv shows mine inevitably ask “Are we there yet?” before we get there.
I’m blessed to work in a place where we also ask ourselves these questions. Our board and staff take retreat together annually to ask “where are we going?” “are we on the right path?” and “are we there yet?”. We continually come back to our base mission and vision statements to evaluate them and evaluate ourselves against them. Thankfully, we are still committed to the same mission and vision we have known for years. But occasionally we must make the hard realization that we aren’t entirely on the right path. We are committed to community development and holistic transformation, but we all agree that to see that happen we must be about more than programs for kids.
We love our KidZone Clubs, so this is a hard place for us. If we are going to do more, then some of our staff must stop doing what they have always done and start working toward community-mindedness. At what cost? What will our time look like? What does “community development” mean to UC? They are all good questions and we’ve been praying for an answer. We asked what would need to happen for our community to be “characterized by stability, justice, opportunity and rich faith in Christ”. We made a very long list and then prayed about priorities. We are beginning to shape our answers.
Our KidZone clubs are carrying on as usual. Our many faithful volunteers are stepping up to do more planning and teaching, and our Program Director Burt Manchester is completely overseeing the programs. That leaves our Director, Doug Hartman, and myself to develop neighborhood partnerships, participate in block watches, work on neighborhood clean-up and beautification, meet with area leaders and work on a few community celebrations. We are excited about this endeavor. I’m a little overwhelmed, but I’m convinced that while we are clearly not there yet, we are on the right path.
What this might mean to you is that if you’ve ever wanted to volunteer (with kids or not) we need you now more than ever! Here’s a new list of what we are hoping for help with:
- event planning (concert, parade, picnics)
- serving food at picnics
- setup and cleanup for events
- donations of picnic table and/or folding tables and chairs
- grant writing
- construction/maintenance at UC
- sidewalk and alley clean-up
- cooking on Mondays for kids
- tutoring in our local elementary schools