Monday, January 31, 2011

Urban Vision: Transforming Young Lives through Christ

Christ Community Chapel is honored to partner with Urban Vision, whose mission is to reach the North Akron Community by demonstrating the redemptive love of Jesus Christ. Urban Vision does this through faith-based programs focused on the needs of the people. Programs are designed for restoring the community one child and family at a time.  A pressing need that Urban Vision sees is intervening in the lives of young people who otherwise could be headed in the direction of joining gangs in search of identity and recognition.  The fruit of transformed lives is on the tree. For example, one young man who came to Urban Vision was once a “street kid”.  Today, he  has been accepted to a private Christian high school with the hope of a good future.

Urban Vision helps young people visualize what they could achieve academically, in their adult working lives, and ultimately, for Christ. The organization offers after-school tutoring, and rewards kids for achieving academic goals. The Set on Success (SOS) after-school enrichment program for K through 12th grade students helps them complete their homework and get a solid foundation in reading and math. Urban Vision currently has a waiting list of 40 young people eager to enter this program.  Urban Vision also spots potential leaders among these youth, and offers Christ-centered training for them. In addition, hard work, academic success, and discipline in things like Scripture memorization can earn these young people the right to enter Urban Vision’s rigorous Teen Leader Training program.

Urban Vision wants to minister to entire families in its North Akron community. One ethnic group it is helping is the Karen (pronounced Kah-RIN) people, who number about 600 in Akron. The Karen are a people group who are from Burma, many of whom are Christian as a result of Baptist missionaries’ work there. Because of ongoing religious persecution in their region, Christian groups in the United States are helping the Karen people to immigrate for sanctuary.  Urban Vision is helping the Karen people in our area get settled and learn the English language. 

We at CCC are encouraged to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. One injustice Urban Vision desires to see rectified is unjust treatment of these immigrants by the housing landlords. In some cases, for example, these landlords charge steep rent, yet refuse to provide basics such as running water. The tenants are told that if they complain, they will be evicted.

There is great potential to help these people become homeowners if Urban Vision’s ministry partners can provide the capital and know-how to purchase and rehab homes in the area. Home rehab would be followed up by counseling and other efforts to allow the Karen and other locals to apply for and get modest loans to own a home.  While freeing the tenants from injustice, this initiative could also improve the community as a whole, to the glory of Christ’s name.

It is humbling to think of the broad scope and impact Urban Vision is having in the lives of our neighbors in need. Would you prayerfully consider how you might serve at Urban Vision? 

Some specific needs are:

*housing: help acquire and restore homes in the North Hill area

*life skills training: teach life skills classes such as finance, budgeting, home repair, parenting skills, and relationship skills

*job training: help writing resumes, typing skills, computer skills, training for interviews

*help with after school programs (homework helpers, cook and serve meals, monitoring gym, etc.)

*help to launch a general store for use by residents

*train young adults with music lessons so they can serve as worship leaders

*help with the vision to build an auto mechanics garage for skills training and affordable transportation

*cook and serve meals for special events

*adult English classes

*building maintenance and renovations, computer and phone repair, cleaning

If you are interested in serving in any of these areas,  contact one of the following people.  Please mention that you heard about these opportunities on the Christ Community Chapel Local Outreach Blog.

Housing: Tim Chafins

Life Skills & Job Training: Rodney Matthews

Auto Mechanic Garage:  Rob Williams

After-School Programs & Musicians Training:  Lauren Beck

Other Contacts at Christ Community Chapel:

Michael Ammirati
330.650.9533 x340

Barbara Ammirati

Lisa Kibler

Visit these websites:

Christ Community Chapel -  click here

Urban Vision -  click here

Sunday, January 16, 2011

One blessing after another at Blessings...

One of the local outreach ministries Christ Community Chapel (formerly Hudson Community Chapel) supports is Blessings of Summit and Portage Counties. Blessings was founded in 1995 to offer help to teenage parents in their journey to becoming capable and independent citizens by providing practical support, role models, and Christian discipleship.  Funding for child care, for example, is provided so that these young people can finish their high school education.  An intimate nurturing relationship with a mentor teaches them to function as a family unit as they learn practical life skills and basic parenting skills.  There are weekly and monthly accountability requirements, as well as the requirement to remain in school with acceptable grades and attendance, and attend a Bible-believing church. 

Currently there are two high school girls in the Blessings program.  Stephanie has a spirited little boy, Andre, and Nicole has a beautiful baby girl, Charlotte.  Another gal, Janessa, has graduated from the program and is currently attending college and has come back to share what she has learned with the current participants.  

Once a month, the Coordinator of Blessings, Jeanette Abell hosts a life skills dinner and meeting in her home for the participants, the children, and the mentors.  Both food and child care are provided and the evening lasts about 1 1/2 hours.  

In a society where an unplanned teen pregnancy can be aborted legally, it is not always an easy decision to do the right thing and choose life.  Blessings exists to support those who make the choice to keep their babies and at the same time move on with their lives in a new context.  Helping the girls finish high school and prepare for the future beyond the crisis of the moment is of utmost importance to Blessings.

What specific things you can do to serve this ministry now:

1)  Prepare a meal for about 12, serve it, and eat at the table with the group during the monthly life skills meeting.  The time commitment is 6-7:30 pm and the following dates are available:

Tuesday Feb. 8, Tuesday March 8, and Tuesday April 12.

Praise the Lord - all of these dates have been fulfilled!

2)  Teach a cooking class for the two girls, as they have both expressed a desire to learn how to cook.

Another answered prayer - someone has stepped forward and offered to teach a cooking class for the girls!  Thank you! 

3)  Teach a basic car maintenance session so the girls will be more aware of what they need to be doing to care for their vehicles.

Again - thank you!  Someone has offered to teach the girls about maintaining their cars. 

4)  Provide career mentoring.  For example, one of the girls has expressed an interest in becoming a nurse.

5) Pray!  For the girls, the children, the mentors, for the Blessings staff and for servants to come along and help the cause.  

If you can serve in any of these capacities, please e-mail Jeanette at with a copy to, and mention that you saw these opportunities on this blog. One of them will contact you.

A recent example of Love in Action...

This past holiday season, some members of Christ Community Chapel provided an opportunity for the girls to have Christmas photos taken with their children.    A simple gift of love that will be cherished for a lifetime.   

"From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another."  John 1:16