This summer instead of a mission trip, Thornapple Student Ministry is partnering with the Woodfield Community Center to build relationships with kids and students in our own city.
What we are doing
Woodfield Community Center exists to help move kids away from lives of loneliness and self-doubt toward a community of belonging through access to emotional support, advocacy, and mentoring. It was established in 2006 as a ministry of Kentwood Community Church, but recently became a self-sustaining Non-Profit, in order to build more relationships and partnerships with other churches and community groups.
WCC primarily serves as a safe place for kids and teenagers who live in the Woodfield Apartments on 60th and Eastern Ave. All year long, they provide a space where kids are free to play sports, do arts and crafts, play games, and hear about Jesus.
This summer, we are hoping to build bridges between our communities of students at Thornapple Covenant and the residents at Woodfield. Our group is committing to serving one night a week, for about three hours, for 8 weeks. While there, we will be interacting with residents, participating in the same activities as the kids, such as playing basketball or soccer, making crafts, doing puzzles, and building relationships with a new group of kids.
Some of our students might partner with their Student Leadership Interns to help lead Bible Study discussions, hand out snacks to younger kids, and facilitate the cleaning and reorganizing of the Community Center each night.
Why are we doing this
Our goal this summer is to come alongside the folks at WCC; to live alongside them, learn from them, and love them as neighbors. We want to join with them as they provide a safe place where kids of all backgrounds and stories are known and loved.
In the past, we have done mission trips to other cities or states, and while those have been beneficial for our students, the relationships usually end by the time we jump on the bus to head home. By partnering with a local ministry, we are building bridges and connecting with our neighbors, so that the relationships we build can continue to thrive long after the summer is over.
Being a member of the Summer Community Partnership requires you to commit to six out of the eight weeks of programming. Once we get all of the applications, we will work with Woodfield to pick out one night a week where our students join with the kids at the Community Center from 5:45pm-8:15pm.
We are asking for a minimum of 6 weeks because most of this ministry partnership simply relies on showing up and being consistent person in the lives of these kids. If you are unable to join us for at least six weeks, you will not get a full representation of what it means to show up consistently, and both your experience and the kid’s experience at WCC won’t be able to thrive like we would like.
Their summer programming runs from June 15 to August 6, Monday through Wednesday, with a weekly cookout on Thursday.
We are aiming for about 15 students to commit to this Partnership, but if we have more interest, we may be able to add another night to our schedule.