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Student Stories

Joy Amado, '17 | Millwood Community Presbyterian Church | Health Science
Millwood Community Presbyterian Church is located in an area of high poverty and hunger. In order to help meet the needs of the neighborhood, the church has created a garden that provides food for a food pantry, has established nutrition programs, and has built an industrial kitchen that will be used to provide food and cooking classes. Joy Amado, a future nutritionist, was an integral part of all of those projects this past summer. Each week, Amado spent time in the garden, cultivating new plots to expand production. She also researched and wrote nutritional curricula to educate kids about healthy eating, and oversaw a farmers market that is held next to the church. Amado learned much this summer about the connection between food and faith, and this renewed her passion to pursue her goal of being a nutritionist who seeks to meet the needs of under-resourced communities.

Hannah Cobb, '16 | First Presbyterian Church Coeur d'Alene | English + Theology
Cobb served as a church history fellow at First Presbyterian Church, in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. She spent the summer creating a short film that documents the oral history of the 127-year-old church. In making the film, Cobb conducted numerous interviews of church members, collecting and compiling their stories. "Telling these stories helped tell the story of the church," she says. "I hope the film will get people excited – people who don't feel connected or rooted in the church yet. I hope the film will get them to talk to each other, and will make them feel connected and a part of something bigger. That's so important, and that's one little piece of God's big story." Through the Summer Fellowship Program, Cobb was able to invite the members of First Presbyterian Church to participate in the story God is writing in the city of Coeur d'Alene.

Olyvia Manning, '16 | Youth For Christ | Theology
Manning served last summer at Youth for Christ (YFC), in Spokane's Hillyard, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. YFC serves Hillyard's students and families, and Manning was an integral part of the staff, investing in students' lives. Each week, she helped lead a summer drop-in session, Adventure Wednesdays (featuring weekly trips to cool areas in Spokane with a busload of kids), and a Thursday picnic in the park. On her own, Olyvia created a program called Get the Job, an initiative that walks kids through the steps and skills of finding employment. The program's goal is to continue to grow and to provide concrete skills for kids ready to enter the workforce and to get out of poverty. Manning's most important "duty" was to serve as a friend and mentor to girls in the neighborhood. Her involvement didn't end with the advent of autumn; instead, Manning will continue to invest in the lives of the students of Hillyard in the coming years.

Beth McFadden, '17| Youth For Christ | Community Health + Theology
McFadden served at Youth for Christ (YFC), in Spokane's West Central neighborhood. YFC serves West Central's students and families, and Manning was an integral part of the staff, investing in students' lives. Each week, she helped lead a summer drop-in session, Adventure Wednesdays (featuring weekly trips to cool areas in Spokane with a busload of kids), and a Thursday picnic in the park. McFadden's most important "duty" was to serve as a friend and mentor to girls in the neighborhood. Her involvement didn't end with the advent of autumn; instead, Manning will continue to invest in the lives of the students of West Central in the coming years.

Hannah Norris, '15 | Partners International | Spanish + Cross-Cultural Studies
Norris served at Partners International, a mission organization that connects areas of the global Christian community to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the least-reached, least-resourced places on Earth. She took annual missionary reports from all around the world, summarized them, and then posted them onto a blog for everyone to share in the knowledge of what God is doing around the world. While serving at Partners, Norris was able to see the inner workings of a nonprofit and to further discover what it means for Christians in the U.S. to be connected to the worldwide Body of Christ.

Molly Roloff, '16 | First Presbyterian Church Coeur D'Alene | Accounting + Spanish
Roloff served as the business fellow at First Pres, drafting a business plan for the Glory Be Learning Center, the church's childcare/preschool. She researched the various types of preschools and childcare facilities in the area in order to compare and contrast them to Glory Be, and she then presented her business plan to the church at the end of her fellowship. It was Roloff's first opportunity to write a full business plan. She said, "I've written parts of business plans for class, but never anything like this. It was a really good learning experience in that way. I now could see myself doing something like this in the future with a nonprofit or small business." The experience aided the learning center and taught her valuable, career-related skills while she ministered to others.

Joshua Seideman, '18 | Union Gospel Mission Summer Camp | Speech Communication + Theology
Seideman spent the summer at the UGM Summer Camp, where he served as a full-time staff person and challenge-course coordinator. The UGM camp has a core staff that remains all summer, hosting churches and ministries that bring their own counselors, worship teams, and program staffs. Most of the churches bring students from difficult backgrounds and home situations. Seideman served (along with two other fellows) as a support-staff member, meeting needs around camp, facilitating bonding activities among campers and providing assistance to the church staffs. Many children who come to the UGM camp are from under-resourced areas and have faced poverty, eviction, and other hardships. Each week, Seideman worked to meet the needs of the campers and church staff, often spending intensive time with groups of kids, encouraging them and loving them, with the ultimate goal of helping each child see that he is profoundly loved by Christ and uniquely gifted.

Kierstie Shellman, '16 | First Presbyterian Church Coeur d'Alene | Education
Shellman spent her summer directing the youth ministry program at First Pres Coeur d'Alene. At the beginning of the summer, she led an independent mission trip to Guatemala, where she and a small group served in an orphanage. Upon returning to the U.S., Shellman re-packed her bags and helped lead a First Pres church-service trip to Bolivia, where she was the leader for a group of student participants. She spent the remainder of her fellowship leading the youth group, planning outreach events, and leading a weekly Bible study for students interested in pursuing the Christian faith more seriously. In addition to investing in the youth of the community, Shellman was heavily involved with the children's ministry, in which she helped lead vacation Bible school and a community-outreach event in the downtown district, she will continue serving as the youth director throughout the school year, furthering her investment in the lives of the students there.

Josh Wagner, '18 | First Presbyterian Church Coeur d'Alene | Theology
Wagner was a youth and children's ministry fellow, dividing his time between serving the children and youth of the church community. Much of his time was spent planning outreach events, meeting with kids one-on-one, and facilitating a weekly Bible study for students interested in pursuing the Christian faith more seriously. Wagner also helped lead vacation Bible school and a community outreach event in the downtown district. In both areas of ministry, he helped First Presbyterian Church continue living out its mission of being a light for Christ in the downtown district of Coeur d'Alene. The fellowship offered Josh an opportunity to continue developing his skills and passion for youth ministry, affirming for him that his skills and gifts do indeed lie in the areas of youth ministry.