Serve Well Blog

Entries tagged 'Urban America'


Meet the 2011 Colleagues!

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Global Citizenship, Preparing To Serve

At the Krista Foundation Annual Conference, 17 new Krista Colleagues were commissioned. They are entering or currently engaged in volunteer or vocational service in urban America, developing nations, or environmental projects. 

Take a minute to let them introduce themselves!

Watch the video:


or CLICK HERE to glance at their web profiles:



The Broadening Scope of Human Rights

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America

hands by Michel de Nijs, 2006The University of Washington's Center for Human Rights recently hosted its annual celebration marking Amnesty International's (AI) 50th anniversary, and recognizing around two dozen organizations including the Krista Foundation. AI believes combating human rights abuses and nurturing a world where justice is rooted in the sustained efforts of ordinary citizens, from letter writing campaigns to advocating at the policy level.

The keynote speaker was AI's Director, Larry Cox, who began by highlighting the power of civil society. In December, when Larry met with top national leaders in DC, he was told that regime change in Egypt in its current state was ‘impossible.' Culturally appropriate behind the scenes pressure was not working and civil society was too weak. Yet two months later, the efforts of Egyptians, (and the sustained efforts of human rights advocates) made radical revolution possible. Larry shared this story as an inspiration and reminder that we all play a role in bringing about change and advocating for the basic needs of our local or global neighbors. Our success in overcoming the most entrenched challenges our globe faces does not rest solely on the leader, but rather on each and every person involved.

The Human Rights Symposium also showcased work closer to home. The panel that followed Larry Cox included: Pramila Jayapal, founder and E.D. of OneAmerica, James Bible, President of the NAACP-Seattle/King County, and Magdaleno Rose-Avila, an author/artist/activist who is the outgoing E.D. of the Social Justice Fund. These speakers addressed a wide variety of issues, from the institutional discrimination and profiling in the US of people of Middle Eastern descent following 9/11, to incarceration rates and the industry of prisons in the US (the country with the most people per capita locked up). They agreed that there is much work to be done within our national borders.

Amnesty International has been working to broaden the view of what qualifies as human rights, sharing that systemic oppression takes place in social, economic, and cultural areas. Human rights are often associated with high profile international abuses, political prisoners or torture cases in foreign nations. However, Larry advocates that basic human rights abuses occur within the US and abroad in areas such as the right to free and fair elections, employment, legal representation. There is often an unjust distribution of and access to wealth, power and legal rights which perpetuates poverty and disproportionately impacts marginalized segments of a population.

At the Krista Foundation, we hear many Colleagues who would resonate with this broader definition of human rights. Whether working in urban education, in law, or with people caught in human trafficking, whether at home or abroad, whether during formal service or service as a way of life—Colleagues are advocates for human rights alongside the people they serve and learn from. As they integrate service as way of life, Colleagues become engaged civic leaders in local communities and at all levels/sectors of society.


Excitement Builds for 2011 Conference & Guest Day

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Faith/Theological Exploration, Global Citizenship, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Intercultural Development, Post-Service Term Reflections, Preparing To Serve

windswept tree by 06 Colleague Megan HurleyExcitement is building for the KF's Annual Memorial Weekend Conference! This conference brings together Krista Colleagues, spouses, and invited guests.

Guest Day (Sunday) is open to the public who want to celebrate or learn more about our mentoring community-including mentors, parents, and other friends of the Foundation. Register if you'd like to come!


A Beautiful Struggle: Recognizing Hope, Embracing Tension, Living Grace

Troubles produce endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. -Romans 5:3

Keynote Speaker: Ron Ruthruff has worked for the past 26 years with homeless and street-involved youth and families as Director of Ministry and Program Development for New Horizons Ministries. He and his wife, Linda recently opened a nonprofit Seattle café that provides job training and employment for young adults working to exit street life. Ron serves as adjunct faculty at Bakke Graduate School and guest lectures at a variety of seminaries and colleges.

Memorial Day Weekend, May 27th - 30th 2011
(Lodge open on Friday evening, the 27th)
Clearwater Lodge, outside of Spokane, Washington
Krista Colleagues, spouses and children are welcome!

GUEST DAY is Sunday, May 29th. Come for Brunch, the Keynote & Krista Colleague Commissioning. Guests are welcome to sit in on afternoon workshops and share a festive dinner.

A special 10th anniversary welcome back to our Krista Colleague Class of 2001!

Come and reconnect with old friends, make new friends, be encouraged and encourage others as we continue to learn what it means to be a "Global Citizen"!

To register click


Future Physician Learns Healthcare Challenges

The Krista Foundation | Colleague Press, Urban America, Healthcare, Poverty: Urban US & International, Sustaining Service

Mike advocates for AmeriCorps"When most people discharge from a hospital stay, a family member takes them to a warm home where they can rest and be fed," Says new Colleague Mike Alston, who serves with JVC - Northwest in Portland, Oregon. "Homeless patients head out the front door with only a bus ticket." Though deemed "medically stable" Mike has noticed people leave tired, sore, and stressed. Through the innovative Recuperation Care Program, Mike helps homeless clients transition from the hospital to housing and recovery, beginning by driving them to a building with food and a warm bed.

Though Mike majored in International Economic Development, he's become discouraged about economic disparity closer to home. "There simply aren't enough slots for those who genuinely want help. The whole city is strapped. It makes it hard when someone wants to move forward and make good choices, but the best they can do is be on a waiting list." Still, he tries to hold on to the success stories: "It is great when clients defy your negative expectations. One woman came to us cycling through the emergency room, in a wheelchair, and her life was falling apart. Still, she discharged into permanent housing, and has been walking and sober for months-and keeping regular appointments! It's hard not to become jaded, but sometimes clients defy your expectations in a positive way."

Set to begin Medical School at the University of Washington this fall, Mike is gaining valuable insight into a medically vulnerable population and the medical care system through his service at the hospital. He plans to use his Krista Foundation Grant funds to attend the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association's Spring Conference "to better prepare for... a career (as a physician) and to better understand the various issues surrounding healthcare delivery to poor and vulnerable populations." Mike also plans to bring lessons from the conference back to Old Town Clinic in Portland.

As a volunteer in the presidential motorcade, Mike was recently able to meet President Obama. Mike took the opportunity to remind the President that AmeriCorps funding was critical to his work, but that the House had passed a budget with significant cuts to the program. The President affirmed his concern, and thanked him for his service.


Nominate a New Krista Colleague!

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Community, Faith/Theological Exploration, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life, Intercultural Development, Preparing To Serve

Conference Dialogue: Teresa, Tami, NathanThe Krista Colleague Cohort Program is the heart of the Foundation. Nominated by professors, pastors, and other community leaders, 15 "Krista Colleagues" are selected each year. These young adults are committed to a sustained period of voluntary or vocational service of at least 9 months and motivated to serve by their Christian faith.

Often applicants are college seniors applying to do service after graduation with a variety of service organizations. After formal service and debriefing, Colleagues take an active role in mentoring newer Colleagues.

Older Colleagues consistently express appreciation for the formal trainings and conferences to prepare for and integrate service, but also for the friendships they form with Colleagues and older mentors through the Foundation network.

Acceptance as a Colleague includes a $1,000 Service & Leadership Grant to be used at the intersection of vocational interests and commitment to serve.

Nominations are due by March 20th, so nominate today!

Click here for nomination criteria or nomination forms!

Questions? Please contact Program Director, Stacy Kitahata

Please LIKE, POST, and SHARE this link with any potential nominators.

-The Krista Foundation



The Krista Foundation | Service In The News, Developing Nations, Environmental Projects, Urban America, Arts & Culture, Community, Education, Global Citizenship, Intercultural Development

serve well blogNo. Seriously. Greetings!

Have you noticed the world is full of thousands of spoken and unspoken ways to meet, greet, or just acknowledge someone?
In intercultural service assignments, whether in U.S. neighborhoods or international settings, we adapt to local ways of meeting somebody, entering a room, or just passing a stranger.

Watch this video prepared by 09 Colleague Brandon Adams, and be sure to post your short paragraph response below:


Here's some quick food for thought from Sean Rawson, a volunteer with Jesuit Volunteers International:

"Nicaraguans almost always greet everyone in a room upon entering, either individually or collectively as a group. This usually means a handshake or a cheek kiss for old friends or new acquaintances alike. Even if somebody enters a conversation or a meeting, he or she generally interjects at least a "Buenas tardes" to those present. To my North American-educated mind, this initially came off as extremely rude; I'd be having a conversation or even presenting some point in a workshop, and someone would walk in late with a public "Buenas!" distracting me and the rest of the group from whatever was being discussed. As time went on during my first few months here, I began to realize that this wasn't just a group of inconsiderate youth, but in fact a great example of the beauty of cultural diversity.

Anyhow, I've been working on learning from my Nicaraguan co-workers, friends and acquaintances to recognize that human relationships are worth taking a few seconds out of a busy schedule to make someone feel recognized."

How about you? Share a custom or a story about the greetings you've learned or observed in service.

(Comments may not post immediately, as they'll go through a moderator to prevent spam.)




Teach for America Coming to Puget Sound

Destiny Williams | Service In The News, Urban America, Education, Global Citizenship, Poverty: Urban US & International, Preparing To Serve, Sustaining Service

From cities to towns across the country, the national educational system is struggling, and people are trying different approaches to fix it. Of the growing numbers of college graduates looking to "give back" through meaningful service, some choose to serve in education, either as teachers or in after-school programs.  Teach for America (TFA), founded 20 years ago to address the achievement gap, is one program which places college graduates into paid teaching positions in struggling classrooms. TFA is in the middle of a major national expansion effort that has reached Puget Sound (Seattle & Federal Way).

A Seattle Times Article: "Teach for America seeks foothold in Seattle area" (Nov. 3, 2010) includes background and some opinions from various constituencies impacted by this shift.

A goal of the Krista Foundation is to encourage healthy dialogue and work toward best practices in the broad field of service volunteerism. Whether technically "volunteer" (unpaid/stipended) or vocational (paid), intercultural service should be done with care for the volunteer, and with care for the community where service is done. We appreciate the way TFA's model can be a platform to discuss best practices for service and vocational work by young adults who want to make a difference.

Quick summary of arguments:
Critics note:

  • TFA gives participants only 6 weeks of training before placing them into difficult classrooms.
  • TFA teachers flood a market where even certified teachers aren't getting hired, and then, after the 2-year stint, 2/3 move on, increasing staff turnover.
  • Former TFA teachers tend to have mixed feelings about the program, and site higher rates of burnout and disillusionment. (see NY Times Amanda Fairbanks, and "Teach for Awhile" Seattle Times 11.16.10, or)

Supporters note:

  • TFA teachers make up for not having a teaching credential by bringing vitality and innovation to help turn classrooms around, and site that students of TFA teachers perform as well as those with certified teachers.
  • TFA teachers take classes toward a certification, improving their skills as they work. TFA is one of several non-traditional programs for teacher certification.
  • Some teachers later move into leadership roles in schools and school districts, impacting educational policy.


Read the article for more.

Also consider reading Taking Care: The Quest for an Ethical and Mutual Approach to Service, an article by the Krista Foundation's Executive Director, Valerie Norwood.

Are you connected to or passionate about this issue? We welcome and value your experience and reflections. Please post your (moderated) comments below.


A Different Kind of Businessman

Destiny Williams | Colleague Press, Urban America, Business, Community, Business, Community, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

Wakefield Gregg - Krista ColleagueTen years ago, Wakefield Gregg (‘99) became a Charter Class Krista Colleague while serving in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood with youth involved in or on the fringes of local gangs.  Wake used Krista Foundation grant money to bring youth to Mississippi to meet the Reverend John Perkins, whose urban development principles of relocation, reconciliation, and redistribution proved life-shaping.

Fast forward ten years, when Wake visited China with George Fox University's MBA program.  He couldn't help but notice the 26.1 million electric bikes sold there in 2007 humming down the road. Returning to Portland, home to the highest percentage of bike commuters in the nation, Wake was inspired to start ‘e-bikes' from his own garage.  He points out the economic and environmental benefits of traveling 15-50 miles on 5 cents of electricity and the fun of 350 watts (equal to 60% of Lance Armstrong's maximum output) powering your bike.  But his vision for this business doesn't stop there.

As soon as the business is "capital positive" Wake's stores will train at-risk or previously incarcerated youth as e-bike mechanics.  "Perkins's principle of redistribution means giving these kids access to the means of production," says Wake.  "I was also inspired by Father Greg Boyle at the Krista Conference three years ago-seeing how his job programs really change the lives of former LA gang members. But this type of thing has been a long-standing passion of mine."  Your investment in Wake's leadership ten years ago helped shape what has become a solid commitment to the "business" of offering hope and opportunity for urban youth.

Click here to read Wakefield's full bio.