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


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