loren Eric Swanson: If I had a Million Dollars

Monday, April 30, 2007

If I had a Million Dollars

I just got off the phone with Casey Yorman of North Coast Church in Vista. This past weekend 5,400 folks from North Coast Church and their multi-site venues cancelled their weekend service to do their "Weekend of Service." Obviously the community and church were pretty excited. Casey said the thousands of workers were tired but had huge smiles on their faces. Working on over 90 projects they conservatively contributed over a million dollars in community engagement, working in schools, non-profits etc. Many kudos to Casey and the North Coast leaders who chose to make a difference.

Church members fan out to tackle community projects
By: SCOTT MARSHALL - Staff Writer

NORTH COUNTY -- Kids visiting the Boys & Girls Club in Oceanside on Monday will be "wide-eyed" when they see the transformation that took place this weekend as part of one church's massive community service project that spanned North County, a club official said Saturday.Paul Paopao, 38, director of operations at the club, was on hand Saturday morning as members of North Coast Church added a mural depicting children to a formerly plain wall just inside the door of the club, scraped old paint off the walls to prepare for a new coat throughout the building, and worked on other projects.
"You're just, like, speechless when you see all the people coming in and volunteering their time," Paopao said. "They will never know in words how much it's appreciated, what they've done for us."
The North Coast volunteers were part of a team estimated to be 5,000-strong that split up to work at sites across North County for the largest community service event in the church's 30-year history. Volunteers from the church are scheduled to work today as well.The church, which typically attracts 6,500 people each weekend, is not having regular services this weekend, but instead is "doing the work of the ministry" through the community service project, said Larry Osborne, 55, the lead pastor.North Coast congregants were expected to work on 92 major projects, including painting and landscaping at Washington Middle School in Vista and Claire Burgener Academy in Oceanside, and full-scale home renovations in Escondido and Vista for women and children fleeing abuse.At the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club, Krista Christensen, 46, of Vista, stood on a ladder Saturday morning painting portions of the mural that fellow North Coast member Bob Busick had drawn on the wall in pencil.Christensen said she volunteered for the church's service event to be an example to the children and let them know people care about them."It's just important to give back to let people out there know there are people who really do care and are in it for the right reason," Christensen said. "It's important to be of service and give back. It does make a difference."Kathy Sampson, 51, and her husband, Greg, 56, who have owned a business in Oceanside for 30 years, served as "city leaders" for the community service project, helping to coordinate the work North Coast volunteers are doing in Oceanside this weekend."We just wanted to jump at the chance to go into all these areas and see what we could do to help out," Kathy Sampson said.She said meeting with people at different organizations who have dedicated their lives to working with children was "very humbling" and that the work North Coast was doing was "kind of small" in comparison.Osborne said serving others also may open doors for people hear about the faith of those who attend North Coast."Imagine a Jesus who just went out talking and never doing good," Osborne said. "You have to earn the right to be heard. I personally think you need to be serving people and to be telling spiritual truth."In Escondido and Vista, several hundred volunteers said they were doing just that as they helped renovate six of the eight homes run by St. Clare's, an Escondido nonprofit organization that serves as a safe haven for women and children who have escaped domestic violence.More than 100 women live in all eight homes, the neediest of which received full-scale makeovers that included everything from exterior landscaping to interior painting and room reconstruction. Of the homes being worked on Saturday and today, five are in Escondido and one is in Vista.Volunteers from the church also worked at St. Clare's headquarters, 2091 E. Valley Parkway in Escondido, where they were improving the program's class space with technology upgrades and more."To explain the depth at which these improvements have gone is almost impossible," said Mary Ferro, the director of community development and volunteer coordinator. "There have absolutely been miracles created."Ferro was part of a team of several dozen volunteers cleaning up a home in south Escondido. Workers of all ages and skill levels were painting, building furniture, and fully renovating two bathrooms in the five-bedroom, 2 1/2-bath home."I have tears just trying to take in all of this," Ferro said, noting that they have estimated the volunteers will have put in between $300,000 and $400,000 worth of improvements at all six homes and the headquarters by the time the weekend is up.As the oldest house owned by St. Clare's, site coordinator Mark Clark said it was in desperate need of work.By the end of the weekend, he added, they hope to have repainted the entire inside of the house, put in new linoleum and carpet, installed all new appliances in the kitchens and custom-designed cabinets in the bathrooms, and added a few new pieces of furniture."I think that it's the single best idea that this organization has ever had," 24-year-old Jake Bales said, as he touched up paint on the hallway. "This is how we should be spending our time."-- Staff writer Shayna Chabner contributed to this story. Contact staff writer Scott Marshall at (760) 631-6623 or smarshall@nctimes.com.

3 Comments:

At Saturday, May 05, 2007 8:58:00 AM, Blogger readywriter said...

Eric,

We met through John Calea a few years ago. Your book, the EFC, inspired me to start a service ministry in Littleton, that has grown and prospered over the last 3 years. If you want to use it at your upcoming conference as an example, please feel free. I will not be able to attend, but am sending one of our volunteers, Duane Hermanson, with some info. Our website is www.thecarpentershelpers.org. and my phone is 720-309-1228 if you have any questions.

 
At Saturday, May 19, 2007 8:36:00 AM, Blogger Jerry said...

Eric,

My son in law is in first year at Stanford Graduate Business School. They are doing a fascinating look and business and social concerns.

Beginning website: Reelimpact.org.

Your paper on transformation was used by one of our leaders to explain to some of our da lao ban the concept and what it means.

You were going to tell me some of the difficulties with the approach being used here. Love to hear it.

 
At Tuesday, May 22, 2007 5:20:00 AM, Blogger IndyChristian said...

Thanks Eric. We've featured it today at the Blews.Network.

 

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