Summer volunteer job provides meaning and mentorship
September 11th, 2013 | Laura Prosapio
This summer after coming home from my first school year at Evangel, I felt like I was at a loss for something to invest in. For the entire month of May, I tried to find a job, but my attempts yielded no results. Disappointed, I felt like I not only wanted, but needed, to start investing into something — anything! I had pondered volunteering some place, though I didn’t know exactly where.
In this time of wondering where to go, a friend suggested to me that I should volunteer at a local community teen center called “The Bridge.” I had heard of the center before — in fact, I had participated in programs there when I was in high school — but, the idea of being a volunteer for teenagers freaked me out a bit. I’ve always seen myself being a volunteer for children or adults, but never teenagers. I made many different assumptions in my head of why the teens wouldn’t like me and how I would have difficulty relating to them. However, the Lord softly spoke to my heart that this was the opportunity He placed before me for the summer. Despite some of my squirminess, I agreed to volunteer as an intern for the remaining two months of summer.
It took me a few days to get adjusted to volunteering at The Bridge, but then something clicked — I realized how fantastic it was that I could be in a position to give advice to teens in my neighborhood and for them to also teach me about life. I got to enjoy quality time with them — from playing board games (especially Apples to Apples) to assisting with a bullying support group to just hearing them talk about their lives and sharing some of my experiences when I was their age.
One of the neatest parts of The Bridge is its staff. Lined up with many caring individuals, this nonprofit organization seeks to “provide free programs … where students can develop mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually in a safe environment.”
Something so special about my time there was being able to serve underneath Priscilla Steinmetz, a 1993 graduate from Evangel. Observing her passion for the well being of youth in the Chicagoland area was incredibly inspiring to me, and I couldn’t help but catch onto that passion in my volunteering.
I’m thankful that I was blessed to spend the summer furthering the vision of another Evangel student who walked this campus before me. As I start my second year here, I am beyond excited to continue pursuing the vision God has placed in my heart, knowing that Evangel equips its students not only for the undergraduate and graduate years, but also for a lifetime of ministry.