U.I. expands its ministries

At the Union Gospel Mission in the Rainier Valley, a few dozen elementary school-aged children gathered in the gym for a game of tag. This experience was part of Urban Involvement’s two new ministries for children, called Passion Tutoring and Hope Central. The new ministries are designed to give children a safe place to play and interact with adult mentors.

Among the crowd were three volunteers from SPU. Sophomore Lindsay Jensen, junior Lori Chase and junior Sarah Snyder played with the kids for several hours last Friday afternoon.

Both ministries are after-school programs in the Rainier Valley and south central Seattle.

Passion Tutoring was originally two separate ministries: Rainier Valley Tutoring and The Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Reach-Out Center (YROC). The organizations were brought together on the SPU campus by Rainier Avenue team-leader Jensen and YROC team-leader Renee Ziemann. The two organizations were merged in order to collaborate on publicity, organize tutors and arrange rides, Ziemann said.

Ziemann and Jensen chose the name Passion Tutoring for the new ministry because they wanted to focus on Christ’s passion for children.

According to Ziemann, "Passion Tutoring organizes SPU students to help the after-school programs of these sites in the Rainier Valley.

This help involves tutoring, playing games and hanging out with the kids.

"Passion Tutoring runs Tuesday through Friday (volunteers usually go once a week) from 3:15 until 6:15 (p.m.)," said Ziemann. "The number of volunteers vary depending on which day it is, but I would say we have about six people go each day."

Hope Central was developed by Northwest Urban Ministries and operates in south central Seattle. It is organized on the SPU campus by junior Katrina Timm. Timm began volunteering for the program a little over a year ago.

According to Timm, "The kids are a vibrant and a vastly diverse group representing Ethiopia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Guatemala, Thailand, Mexico, Somalia and Nigeria."

Hope Central is a ministry similar to Passion Tutoring, offering assistance by tutoring, mentoring, crafts, games and chapels. However, Hope Central is run by a different organization and it ministers to another part of Seattle.

According to Timm, the kids at Hope Central are kindergarten through sixth graders. However, a middle-school program called "Friday Night Live" gives older students the opportunity to stay involved as part of the leadership.

Passion Tutoring ministers to kindergarten through fifth graders from schools in the Rainier Valley.

According to Timm, the Hope Central after-school tutoring program runs Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 3-5:30 p.m.

"The kids are just amazing," said Jensen. "They cling to you so fast and they just love you."

Nicole Randolph is a children’s ministry coordinator at the Union Gospel Mission in the Rainier Valley.

"I love any opportunity to be involved with kids and have a positive impact on their development," Randolph said.

Randolph says that she has not had the opportunity yet to get to know the volunteers from SPU.

"That is something we are working on," she said. "It is important to get to know the people who are volunteering their time to help our mission."

Ziemann says that the goal of this program is to build relationships, both between the volunteers and the children and between SPU and the community.

"I love this ministry because I think it is great to be able to empower, learn from and mentor kids who come from a totally different background than I did," Jensen said. "It will definitely take you out of your box and expose you to a different, but wonderful, world."

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Title: U.I. expands its ministries | Author: Ryan McSparran | Section: News | Published Date: 2003-01-29 | Internal ID: 3086