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Sally Kadifa

Sally Kadifa

Parent of SSP Youth from First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, CA

We donate to SSP because of the opportunities for service it has provided for our daughter, Charlotte. She is a senior in high school and has participated in both middle and high school SSP trips with her youth group at our church, First Congregational Church of Palo Alto. These service trips are truly a highlight of Charlotte’s summer vacation.

“We are impressed Sierra Service Project makes the effort to develop constructive and long-term partnerships with the communities the programs serve.”

She has had fun “doing good” for others while bonding with teens from our church as well as teens from churches around the West Coast. She’s learned how to paint, use power tools, and construct a wheelchair ramp. She’s enjoyed meeting some of the individuals who so graciously permit SSP participants and staff to work on their homes, community facilities, and parks.

“Teens see the injustice and inequality in our society, and SSP empowers them to do something about it.”

We are impressed Sierra Service Project makes the effort to develop constructive and long-term partnerships with the communities the programs serve, and works with them to identify and complete projects that truly benefit the community. Charlotte’s experiences with SSP have informed her belief system and values. Teens see the injustice and inequality in our society, and SSP empowers them to do something about it. Thank you, SSP!

 

Editor’s Note: Join the Kadifa family and over 600 annual donors in supporting SSP financially. This article is featured in SSP’s 2018 Annual Newsletter; read all the stories written by youth volunteers, summer staff, and community members. Request a hard copy newsletter to be mailed to you.

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Jordan Karnes #mySSPstory

Jordan Karnes #mySSPstory

Jordan Karnes
Sonoma State University, Junior
Food Service Coordinator, Tsaile 2017
Point Pleasant United Methodist Church

 

Being a part of the SSP community has been one of the most influential parts of my life. Without SSP I would not have developed into the leader I am today. Because of the time and energy I’ve dedicated to this program, I have thrived as a leader in recent years. I’ve grown so much thanks to the people I’ve met, and the experiences we’ve had together.

 

These factors, although I didn’t know it at the time, were fundamental to shaping me into the person I am today.

 

Since my first week as a youth in Fort Hall in 2011, every SSP week I’ve experienced has uniquely impacted me. As a youth, SSP mesmerized me. I loved being a part of a work team and getting to know youth from other places with hearts for service like me. The staff members empowered me and I always looked up to them. These factors, although I didn’t know it at the time, were fundamental to shaping me into the person I am today.

In 2014 in Tsaile I met Chloe Parker, and we started to talk about life, staff, faith, and everything in between. I looked up to Chloe so much because she is strong, confident, and the type of leader I want to be one day. To this day, I don’t think Chloe knows that she’s the main reason I applied for staff. I can only hope that I am able to impact youth in a similar way.

 

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to have this organization in my life.

 

I’ve been able to translate my leadership skills from SSP into so many areas of my life. I’m the community service chair of my sorority, and I lead a weekly Bible study.

This year, I’ve gotten the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Leadership Academy. I will continue to develop my leadership alongside so many amazing SSPeople by my side. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude to have this organization in my life. It’s an honor to be a part of this community that values and empowers young leaders like me and so many others!

 

Editor’s note: Jordan most recently served on staff in Tsaile, AZ as a Food Service Coordinator. She is a Leadership Academy fellow and her story is the seventh part of the #mySSPstory series highlighting SSP staff leaders and their stories. Join Jordan and apply for 2018 summer staff!

Twelve SSP Experiences

Twelve SSP Experiences

by Liam Smith

Youth Board Member from Elk Grove United Methodist Church

 

liam-stockton-reinvent

Liam beautifying a park in Stockton alongside the local nonprofit Reinvent South Stockton.

My name is Liam Smith and I have just been chosen to serve on the Sierra Service Project’s Board of Directors. I have been on twelve SSP experiences in Chiloquin, Smith River, San Diego, Coarsegold, McDermitt, Susanville, South Los Angeles, and Stockton.

Each time I have been able to see growth in myself, others, and the communities SSP has served. My first SSP experience was a Middle School trip in Coarsegold and I remember being completely overwhelmed with a sense of love, passion, and commitment. Throughout my years of experience serving at SSP I have learned far more than just how to build a fence or paint a house, I have learned to love people better, love God better, and love our communities better.

After graduating from High School I plan to go to a four year university to get a major in either history or political science. While I don’t exactly know where I will be attending I plan to eventually become a pastor. I don’t exactly know where that will be taking me but I am super excited to find out where God is taking me.

While I don’t exactly know where I will be attending I plan to eventually become a pastor.

Serving on the Board will equip me with the experience I will need to be able to further myself in the near future. Being able to collaborate with people, share opinions, and gather new concepts and ideas will be able to further develop my thought process. This I believe will help me both in my immediate future and my college career.

 

Editor’s Note: Liam was able to serve during our summer program so many times because he came to SSP with his church and as an Individual youth. Learn more about SSP’s 2017 locations.

A Day in Rancho Cordova

A Day in Rancho Cordova

By Chris Low

Youth Leader from Castro Valley United Methodist Church

 

Why did five youth and one youth leader leave Castro Valley United Methodist Church at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday and travel 115 miles to Rancho Cordova to help build a stranger’s fence for six hours? Simple… the answer is in I John 4:19: “We love, because he first loved us”, and God commanded us to love one another. Why else?

Chris and the youth volunteers working hard during a TV segment about the project. 

Sierra Service Project put out the call to help the community of Rancho Cordova and Caroline Foley, Jack Low, Craig Lowe, Seanna Prentice, and Andy Yang answered. They had participated in SSP’s 2015 summer program in Smith River, CA and wanted to continue to be in service to others. The youth proclaimed their faith, became the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and helped Darlene Robbins fix her fence. The youth responded to SSP’s call by spreading God’s love and thus, brought honor and glory to Him. The youth also got to meet a bunch of SSP’s office staff and work side by side with them, which they really enjoyed.

The youth proclaimed their faith, became the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and helped Darlene Robbins fix her fence.

At the end of the day, each youth was physically tired, but spiritually invigorated. As tired as the boys were of working, they still had enough energy to engage in a made up game of “pinecone football”. The Rancho Cordova Neighborhood Beautification Program is a great opportunity for youth and parents who have not been to SSP’s summer program to experience it for a day.

 

Editor’s Note: The Rancho Cordova Neighborhood Beautification Program is completely free and all participants receive a t-shirt and lunch. Email Evan Griffiths to volunteer!

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Sierra Service Project works to build strong connections and resilience among communities. Join us in home repair work so residents throughout the Western United States can safely age in place.

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