A church and a non-profit joined hands to offer job skills training to youth and young adults in the Fullerton area.
The six-week course, which ran from April to May, was the result of a collaborative effort between New Life Fullerton, the English-speaking congregation of a Korean immigrant church called New Life Mission Church, and Solidarity, a non-profit which serves low-income and inner city children and youth through various programs, including the program which New Life participated in, called Workforce Development.
Solidarity connected New Life’s pastors and volunteers to youth and young adults ranging from 16 to 24 years old who would be interested in taking the course, while New Life planned each class, brought in the speakers and teachers, provided rides for students, and prepared snacks and food.
Over the six weeks, teachers and volunteers taught 15 students total – though attendance each week varied – on basic job skills such as making eye contact with employers, ways to speak professionally, and how to sit and stand during an interview. They also helped students explore potential career opportunities.
“For one student, this made a big impact on her and it helped her to learn how she can utilize her past experience and define it in her resume, and talk through it during her interview,” said Will Chang, the lead pastor of New Life Fullerton. “This may seem basic to some people, but for those who come from broken families for example, they don’t have that network of people to be able to connect and learn from people in the field that they want to go to.”
New Life Fullerton has often engaged in efforts to reach out to members of the surrounding community, Chang said, such as hosting computer classes, participating in food drives, or delivering care packages to the elderly. But many members of the congregation expressed a desire to engage in an outreach effort that was more long-term and relational.
“Part of our drive to partner with Solidarity was to do something similar to having the computer skills class, but doing it more strategically and for a longer term, establishing a relationship with the community,” explained Chang.
By continuing to build relationships with members of the community, Chang said the members of the church hope to “minister to them as much as they also minister to us [the church members], and challenge us.”
“We want to be the hands and feet of Christ, and that means we have to get to know people,” he said.
Chang added that partnering with a non-profit like Solidarity, which has been serving the community for 17 years, allows the church to form connections with members in the community who the church may not have been able to meet on its own. As a veteran in the field, Solidarity served as a bridge, connecting the church and the community, Chang said.
New Life Fullerton plans to continue to partner with Solidarity to serve members of the community, such as by providing free after school tutoring sessions for students in the community.