Serving Opportunity: What Now America’s Youth Resource Center on Saturday, October 22nd!

October 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

The following is from Jeff Chou, coordinator of our monthly volunteer effort with local non-profit What Now America:

We’re going to be serving at the Youth Resource Center this Saturday at DeFremery Park from 12pm-5pm.  We’ve been committing to this once a month for the past 8 or 9 months now, and I’m encouraged to finally see some of the seeds of consistency starting to grow.  We’ve built a great relationship with the director of WNA (who frequently will set extra food aside for us to use at church), as well as a few of the youth.


Some of the youth we’ve been able to also see at our Family Fun Nights, as well as at random times in the park.


I had the privilege of attending a conference last week about Christian Community Development, and one of the things that is clear amongst most of the topics covered there (such as racial reconciliation, crime, poverty, etc) is that the future of community transformation lies in the youth of that particular community.  They’re the future indigenous leaders of their peers, and have the ability to make generational impact.

At the Youth Resource Center, you have the opportunity to work alongside kids through a curriculum, as well as participate in preparing a healthy meal and outdoor exercise.


I’m wondering if you’ll consider giving a Saturday, or future Saturdays to this cause.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions at all.  I’d be glad to answer or chat about the ministry!


Jeff (jeff@convergeoakland.org)

What Now America Back-To-School Event Reflections

September 26, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Pulse

What Now America, Back-To-School Event

Here’s what one of our own, Jeff Chou, had to say about the event:

We’ve had the opportunity over the past year to serve and invest at a local Youth Resource Center operated by the non-profit What Now America.  The Resource Center aims to provide “basic societal needs” to the youth of West Oakland by combining an educational curriculum with healthy eating, and physical education.  In September, What Now America hosted their annual “Back to School” event on a Saturday afternoon at Defremery Park.  In addition to fun booths like face painting, there were also interesting hands-on educational opportunities for children such as making their own ice cream.  The event culminated in the distribution of hundreds of bags of school supplies that were put together through a cooperation of local businesses and an army of volunteers.

Convergence continues to maintain a monthly presence at the Youth Resource Center, helping with tutoring, leading games and activities, preparing healthy foods, and interacting with the kids.  If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact me at jeff@convergeoakland.org for more information.

Habitat for Humanity Update

September 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Pulse

Craig and Ted, Habitat for Humanity, September 2011

 

Here’s an update from the leader of our last Habitat for Humanity outing, Ted Huynh:

Habitat for Humanity is an organization dedicated to help those in need of safe and affordable homes who are currently living in undesirable and potentially dangerous housing. As part of a monthly commitment, Convergence volunteers spend time one Saturday a month to help build these homes in East Oakland, in the hope of loving others in the community through physical work and developing community that may not exist in many areas. This past month (September 2011) we continued to help build the second part of the Kinsell Commons development, which is rehabilitating a formerly dilapidated and dangerous area of Oakland. We worked on painting, cleaning, and laying down marmoleum tiling – tough work! But the conversations and work involved really allow myself to be involved with the community in a different context than usual and was really worth my time. Take the time to come check it out with us! We help Habitat for Humanity every third Saturday of the month.

 

Family Night X @ DeFremery Park, Thursday July 28th, 2011!

July 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Our 10th installment of Family Night is coming on Thursday, July 28th, from 6-8pm at DeFremery Recreation Center located at 1651 Adeline St. in Oakland, CA!  Join us for food, fun, and games!

 

Family Night IX @ DeFremery Park, Thursday June 30th, 6-8pm

June 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Our 9th installment of Family Night came on June 30th, 2011, from 6-8pm at DeFremery Recreation Center located at 1651 Adeline St. in Oakland, CA!

Check out the photo gallery below for a glimpse of the food and fun!  We hope to see you on our future dates of 7/28, 8/25, and 9/22!

 

Photos from Family Night, May 2011!

May 26, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Check out some photos from our May 2011 edition of Family Night!  After sharing a meal together, families went on a scavenger hunt around the grounds of DeFremery Park, attempting to find more than 25 different items hidden, sometimes in plain sight!  Our “scavenger hunt” theme also extended to families doing activities together, such as word finds and hidden picture puzzles.

Check this website for details about our next family night, to be held at the end of June!  We hope to see you there!

Family Night VIII @ DeFremery Park, May 26th, 6-8pm!

May 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Our 8th installment of Family Night is coming on May 26th, 2011, from 6-8pm at DeFremery Recreation Center located at 1651 Adeline St. in Oakland, CA!

Join us for a fun family themed night, starting with dinner at 6pm. All of West Oakland is invited – bring your friends and family!

We’re still looking for volunteers – please contact our Family Night Coordinator, Jenn, at jenn@convergeoakland.org!

Hope to see you there!

 

Build Into the Future of West Oakland, this Saturday 12-5pm

May 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

The CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) is one of the leading organizations in the field of community development.

One of their models of change for a community is to identify and invest in the future leaders of a community, in order to affect long term change.  Indigenous leaders have a greater impact than those who come in from outside regions, for obvious reasons.  They’ve lived in the area, grew up in the communities, and their friends are the community.

We’ve been volunteering once a month, for the past few months, with the organization What Now America, who provide a drop-in clinic youth called the Youth Resource Center.  It’s a clinic that runs every Saturday that provides a curriculum, one-on-one tutoring, mentoring, as well as times shared in meals and outdoor physical education.

In a snapshot, it’s investing into the youth of Oakland, giving them extra opportunities other than school to learn core concepts in science, language, arts, and mathematics, in a fun and varied environment.

This Saturday, May 7th, we’ll be going back again to help out.  This isn’t simply just hanging out with kids, or baby sitting, but rather a true opportunity to build into the future of West Oakland.

If you’re available, we’d love to see you there.  The clinic is held at DeFremery Recreation Center (the same place where our Sunday Services are held) from 12-5pm.  Please contact Jeff (jeff@convergeoakland.org) if you can make it, or have any questions about the event!

Convergence & Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon 2011!

April 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Pulse

Volunteers move a completed wall frame towards the home it'll provide structure for.

Over the past half year or so, we’ve been a monthly presence at Habitat for Humanity’s site in East Oakland, named Kinsell Commons.  This past weekend, we were able to participate in our first Build-A-Thon as a church, which was a 4-day event to “blitz-frame” a brand new development from foundation to walls.  It’s a highly coordinated and important event that not only makes significant progress on the new home sites, but also raises funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity East Bay.

Through the donation of our church family and friends, we were able to sponsor 3 of our congregants to participate in the Build-A-Thon on Saturday, April 16th.

Craig shows off his newly learned skill set.

For Craig, who had been in the midst of a busy season for work, it was a great time to get out an enjoy the outdoors – a stark contrast from the desk and computer screen he’d been chained to the past few months.  He particularly enjoyed even the sounds of something different.  “I had earplugs in the whole day, and at one point I took them out.  It was cool just to hear all the sounds of the construction site, from saws to hammers, as well as people coordinating to move pieces into position.  It was a great picture of the totality of what was going on that day.”

Ted didn't let his muscle go to waste.

Ted has been one of the most steady volunteers for our presence at Habitat each month.  He was particularly struck by how many first timers or inexperienced people there were on the site, and how despite this, people were willing to learn and work.  “It was just pretty cool because at the beginning of the day, we were just sitting on a foundation with hard hats and hammers in hand, and by the end of the day there were walls and stairs.”  Ted mentioned that while he started the day barely being able to hammer a nail straight, at the end he was able to hammer a nail whether it was above his head or below him on the ground, and from every angle in-between.

David cheerfully nails together a frame

David is our coordinator for our volunteer efforts with Habitat.  Besides sending out information about the events, he recruits and organizes people every month to participate.  For him, the defining moments of the day came when he would meet volunteers who have been regulars with Habitat, some upwards of 10-20 years.  Veterans who have been on the umpteenth Build-A-Thon.  “It’s just good to know there is a consistent community serving Oakland even when we’re not there,” he said.  Habitat actually waived a fundraising requirement that allowed David to serve an additional day (Tuesday 4/19) at the Build-A-Thon!

Volunteers & Helpers couldn't be more joyful at 6:45am! (From L to R: Craig, Ted, David, Jeff, & Kevin)

In addition to our 3 fundraising Build-A-Thoners, Jeff and Kevin also showed up as day-of helpers, assisting in the coat/bag checks, hospitality, and first-aid capacities.

We serve monthly at Habitat for Humanity East Bay and hope that you can get involved in the future.  If you want to receive information about this, please contact our Habitat for Humanity Coordinator, David L. at david@convergeoakland.org.

Upcoming Service Opportunities March/April 2011

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Connecting with the community of Oakland is a large part of our mission as a church.  Read below for opportunities to serve in the next couple months!

Habitat for Humanity: Running on every 3rd Saturday each month, serving at Habitat in East Oakland is a chance to hone your trade skills and help build a house alongside families who have qualified for a Habitat home.  No experience is necessary.  Upcoming dates are 3/19, and 4/16.  Please contact David (david@convergeoakland.org) for more info.

What Now America: If building into the youth of Oakland piques your interest, join us as we serve with What Now America, helping out in their youth drop-in clinic on Saturdays at the DeFremery Recreation Center from 12-5pm.  We spend the time teaching curriculum, tutoring, making food, enjoying physical education, playing games, and mentoring.  No experience or preparation is necessary, just a willing heart and hands to help.  Upcoming dates are 3/19 and 4/9.  Please contact Jeff (jeff@convergeoakland.org) for more info.

Family Nights: On the last thursday of each month, we host Family Night at DeFremery in partnership with the Center and the City of Oakland.  Families in Oakland are invited out for a fun night with dinner provided, followed by themed guided activities.  Volunteers are needed in all phases of the night, including the food preparation and setup, as well as participation in activities.  Upcoming dates are 3/24 and 4/28.  Please contact Jenn (jenn@convergeoakland.org) for more info.

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