Jesus challenged religious systems, lifted up the outcast, gave value to the overlooked, healed the hurting, and redefined who and how we are to love. And while we won’t get it perfect, we want to follow Him in doing the same. Oftentimes this comes through partnerships with local and global churches and non-profits who are experts in their fields, humbly acknowledging that we don’t have the answers to all our world’s spiritual and physical problems.
As a church, we harnesses the strength of our partners to send volunteers into the local and global community to make a real impact on lives, from teaching literacy to adults, to ensuring children have access to clean drinking water and healthcare. When we get to experience bringing real hope to others, the Holy Spirit actually transforms our hearts in ways that we could not even imagine.
Our Willow location in Wheaton partners with Outreach Community Ministries (OCM) as our local expert for vulnerable youth. OCM was founded in 1973 with a mission to serve the most at-risk youth of DuPage County; they have since grown into the largest parachurch organization (faith-based) org in our county. OCM serves the entire DuPage County community at six sites with services ranging from tutoring/college prep, transitional housing, counseling, and employment training. OCM also manages multiple social enterprises providing affordable furniture, clothing, and much more to our families.
In December 2021, we launched a Hope for Youth (HFY) fundraising initiative to positively impact vulnerable youth in Chicagoland. Through HFY, OCM received the support to remodel a tutoring room in the Community Center in Carol Stream so every kid that receives help with school would also feel loved, cared for, and seen. The project required an entire repaint of the large tutoring space, replacing all furnishings and decor, replacing an extremely large room divider, and much more. The fundraising goal was $20k (just a portion of the full project cost). Our congregation was so excited when they heard about this project that they doubled the fundraising goal. Not only that, five individuals raised their hand to serve as tutors in the program, too! And the best part of all? Another local church got involved, and together, we collectively met the full project cost goal for Outreach—we really are better together!
Check out this video from OCM to hear about the remodel!