This week, Barry Smith from Youth Empowerment Services and I met as panelists with about 20 students of Rutgers Student Volunteer Council, located at the nice Student Activity Center overlooking the Raritan River on George Street. If you consider how much help our church has received in recent years from Rutgers students, it was about time that we met in the peace of a conference room in order to reflect on the nature of the work, how it can be enhanced, and how the ties to community organizations like our church can be intensified.
Twenty wonderful young people eager to hear about such topics! How do you establish ties with the community? How has this changed over the course of the history of your organization? What constitutes a successful community service event? What do you find rewarding; what disappointing? What’s the impact of volunteers in the community as you see it?
We discussed these and similar questions. And slowly, there emerged in the room this mutual enthusiasm for being here in the hub city with all its challenges, its diversity, and its signs of rejuvenation and renewal.
Genuine interest in the non-profit goals of our community organizations, an appreciation particularly for the church’s history, and curiosity about our future potential – it was a rewarding afternoon, indeed! (Continued in Part II )