COLLEAGUE YEAR: 2015
PLACEMENT: Mission Year; Peace Community Center
LOCATION: Chicago; Tacoma
CURRENT: Program staff, College Success Foundation
Arlicia Etienne loves seeing a vision come to life. In three years of service in Chicago and Tacoma, she watched a firehouse become a community arts center and underrepresented high school students graduate and pursue their college or career dreams.
But another vision motivated her: connecting the gifts of millennials to church.
“I was not contributing my gifts to my church or any church but to non-profits and my career,” she said. Entering Eastern University for graduate work in Urban studies with a concentration in Community Development, she focused her thesis on how “spiritual but not religious” millennials practice their faith. If an individual connects to God through art or nature, how can church provide that? My hope was to communicate back to the church that young adults do have strong faith, and to seek ways to build connections with them.”
Attending the Krista Foundation debriefing last winter helped Arlicia begin to pull together her work and school experience and explore a path forward. Discouraged while searching for full-time work, she realized “it’s not a straight line, and I can be okay with that and trust that God has it all worked out.” Soon after, she was hired by the College Success Foundation at the University of Washington to mentor first-generation low-income students of color and foster students. “I can’t say that it is my plan, but it is life giving!”