October 28, 2011 Leave a Comment
Jim Schepers - The Other Way Ministries
Three community members move from volunteer status to employed volunteer status.
These are difficult days in our West side of Grand Rapids community. Housing values have cratered. Long-term neighborhood businesses are closing. Unemployment has soared, particularly for our community members of color. And so, it is particularly delightful when hard work and opportunity come together for those who care enough about their neighborhood to stay involved in the work of community development.
We had just such an experience this past month, when three of our regular community volunteers were able to take advantage of an employment opportunity and move from simple volunteer status to employed volunteer status. The path to this new status was through relationships developed through their community volunteering. This past month, they collectively took over the landscaping duties for the several properties owned and operated by The Other Way Ministries.
When we were all a bit younger, many of us can remember being told its not who you know, but what you know that will help you in the future. Well, that is often true – but not always. Relationship matters. Often enough, God chooses to bless us through those he has already brought into our lives.
The three individuals, Johnny McSwain, Joyce Johnson, and Ray VanStee have all distinguished themselves this past year through their consistent willingness to serve their and our Westown community as volunteers connected through the work of our AmeriCorps Member Karl Williams.
And along with their continuing volunteer work, their new employment, Karl reports that beyond all that, he is blessed to simply have them as new friends, friends he has come to know as he himself continues to invest in making the West side of Grand Rapids a better place for everyone.
God is good. He provides us with everything, including friends for the journey. Relationship matters!