Leanne Andre has been attending Northridge Church (Irondequoit Campus) for about four years. Leanne serves as a liaison to Genesis House, one of Northridge's Community Partners. Genesis House, a program offered by the Salvation Army, opened its doors in Rochester to homeless and runaway youth in 1981 and serves hundreds of teens ages 16-20 each year. This 14-bed, co-ed facility is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and it is the only youth shelter in New York state that treats clients 18-20 as youth.
We asked Leanne to answer a few questions about her involvement with Genesis House:
- How often/when/where do you serve?
· Typically the first Thursday of the month at the Genesis House shelter facility.
- What do you do?
· Myself and others spend time with the youth in the shelter. We eat, play games, go outside and play kickball. We take a few minutes at the beginning to let them know we are Christians, and why we are there to serve (James 2). We invite them to ask us questions about our faith, or their own faith. We also leave them with an email so they can contact us for prayer/questions at a later time.
- Who are the people you typically serve, and what are their specific needs?
· These are kids ages 16-21 who are homeless, and the Genesis House shelter is currently their home.
- Do you serve with others?
· Yes, people from several different churches participate in this program.
- What are the greatest needs of the population of people that you serve? What are their greatest assets?
· Their greatest needs are food, clothing and shelter. Their greatest assets are often their extreme resilience. So often they are hopeful of their future, despite their current situation.
- What is the most satisfying part of your service? How have you been impacted by those you serve?
· The most satisfying part is being able to at least try be like Jesus to some of these young people. To show them there are people who care about them and want them to do well AND the reason we care is because God cares about them. I have been impacted in countless ways including seeing young people come to faith and change the course of their lives. Smaller examples are just seeing a young person’s face brighten when they have a chance to relax, laugh and forget their struggles for a few minutes.
- What might you say to someone who is unfamiliar with what you do or the organization your affiliated with, but might be curious about possibly serving with you?
· We are all equipped to do something. Often we shy away from unfamiliar things for fear that we don’t have what it takes or we won’t know what to do/say. Our community has so many people who don’t know God. We HAVE to share ourselves and our lives with others so they can see Him in us. For this serving opportunity you need only be qualified to make brownies, or pitch a kickball, or play a card game - and most of all you have to be willing to be uncomfortable and trust that God will fill in the rest.
If you'd like to explore ways you can serve others through Northridge Church, contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.