Grace's journey from being a SOLFUL volunteer to running her own site in the Maple community.
In the summer of 2010, Pastor Jay Lee charged his church, Eden (now Elements), to get outside of their church walls and embrace what God was doing in their city. As a student at Cal State Fullerton, summers were usually a time of rest and recuperation for Grace Kim, but God kept tugging. Jay’s call challenged her. The city had a desperate need. Due to budget restraints, summer school was cut. Elementary students across the city of Fullerton no longer had any free educational enrichment during the summer break.
Recognizing a crucial opportunity, Grace saw how the Church could be a part of the solution.
That summer, Grace came twice a week to the Garnet neighborhood for eight weeks to build relationships with the youth. There was a slight nervousness that connecting with the Garnet teens would not come easy. That fear was quickly erased as she got to know the students, do art projects with them, play games in the park, and finish SOLFUL with an all-day field trip to Knotts Berry Farm.
Fast forward six years, and everything has changed for Grace.
Grace became a “Chung” when she married Patrick.
A year later, baby Anna came into the world.
Grace quit her job as a high school teacher and was in limbo with what God had for her next.
One day while thumbing through Facebook, Grace & Patrick ran across a job opening for a Teen Center Lead at Solidarity. She was taken back to that summer six years ago when her life was completely different.
Grace remembered how her church responded to the city’s need for summer programming for youth. She remembered nervously jumping into a strange program and unexpectedly receiving so much love from the neighborhood in return.
Patrick suggested that the Teen Center position might be a good fit for Grace, but baby Anna was only four months at the time and it would be hard to find child care. Eventually the deadline to apply passed.
Grace figured that it was meant to be. How was she supposed to hold down a job while trying to raise a newborn?
A couple of weeks later the job opening was reposted with a new application deadline. Grace decided to apply this time around and was chosen as the new Maple Teen Center Lead.
A few weeks ago, the Fullerton Unified School District wrapped up their academic year, which means SOLFUL has started. This time around, Grace is not volunteering but instead leading her first SOLFUL site.
“I am excited about the new volunteers who will be a part of Maple SOLFUL. When I volunteered, I was able to be a part of God’s movement in the neighborhood, and this year, I also want my volunteers to experience God in a real way.”
Six years ago, Grace was joining a local church movement to help answer a city wide issue. This year she is facilitating a similar experience for others by leading a SOLFUL site. Grace is helping the local church to be a dynamic part of the city’s transformation.