Welcome Back, Daniel and Laura!

Trinity is pleased to be welcoming back Laura Johnson and Daniel Akamine to the Bobcat Learning Center team!

Daniel and Laura spent the 2016-2017 academic year serving the students at Jason Lee Middle School, both in classrooms and in the afterschool programing. Read on to hear their thoughts as they begin a fresh year.

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My favorite part about working at the Jason Lee Learning Center is doing a cooking enrichment with the students. I wanted to cook with the students because cooking and eating a meal together was always a way for my family and I to come together for some memorable times and I wanted to bring that experience to my students. Last year the cooking enrichment was a gateway for me to get to know the students better and this year my hopes are to use the cooking enrichment as a tool to inspire my students to make meals at home for their family and friends.
-Daniel Akamine
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Starting another year at Trinity and Jason Lee’s Learning Center feels a bit returning home. One of the greatest joys I found in my work last year was the community that I got to be part of. In almost every activity, program, or event we put on, there was collaboration, familiar faces, and a sense of shared purpose. What makes this community so special is how welcoming it truly is. With a new year comes even more opportunities for me to grow personally and in community at Trinity. I look forward to getting to know my coworkers, peers, students, and everyone else even more and continuing my part in the Trinity community story.
-Laura Johnson

Bryant Late Start 2017

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Trinity is offering childcare for students in Kindergarten - Fifth Grade on the "Late Start Days" in the 2017-18 school year.  Late Start is the second Wednesday of every month during the academic year. 

Students can be dropped off at Trinity after 9 AM. Trinity Staff will walk the students to school at 11:30 AM.

Our staff supervise fun activities and free time for the students, in addition to a light snack.

We have space for 25 students. 

TO REGISTER

Contact rachel@tpctacoma.org or call 253-272-8819 to reserve your space!

Cost is $10 for the first student, and $5 for each additional student in the family. Payable via check or cash when you drop off your student.

Click here to download the registration form. Return in advance, or turn in Wednesday morning.

Idaho Servant Adventures 2017

Mitchell on the wall.

Mitchell on the wall.

Mitchell hung by his clenched fists just under an overhang, thirty five feet up the craggy Shoshone climbing wall. Over and over again he attempted to pull himself over the awkward ledge, but each time a poorly gripped shoe slipped or a sweaty hand slid. He’d been stuck on the same spot for twenty minutes. At first his friends were cheering him on vehemently from below, but now they had quieted to an occasional hoot. None of them thought he would make it. The longer you’re stuck on a spot, the weaker your grip becomes until regardless of willpower or determination, tired fingers just can’t hold on.

“One more heave,” he thought.

  From below it looked like any of the other failed attempts, but this one was lasting a little longer. He was pulling himself higher than before, and twisting his body in a different way. His feet were holding. Once again his supporters cheered, only louder this time, jumping and screeching like surprised howler monkeys. He was actually doing it! After twenty two minutes of hanging from the same ledge, Mitchell hoisted his body over that exhausting impasse, and proceeded to scale the rest of the wall.

That night, during the Trinity group debrief, a time to reflect on the day, Mitchell shared that it was the most meaningful part of his Tuesday. Everyone agreed it was truly epic.

Genet brushing old paint.

Genet brushing old paint.

Something about camp and service both breaks down and empowers youth in extraordinary ways. Thrown from their comfort zone, high on a ledge, prying rotten planks in a stranger's backyard, or sitting at a fire late at night, they encounter a challenge, and in grappling with it something changes. They gain confidence, put on humility, and hopefully draw a little closer to their Creator.

Trinity’s youth got to go to Shoshone the last week of June. Through service in Idaho’s Silver Valley, goofing off, fresh mountain air, and honest conversations they learned that they are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ’s image to do good works wherever they may be. Yes that’s from Ephesians.

Daniel, Lena, and Aaron corn-holing

Daniel, Lena, and Aaron corn-holing

Much corn-holing, song singing, river floating, and horseback riding were had in the evenings, while in the mornings the kids set out in separate groups to help out the local community in the ongoing Idaho Servant Adventure effort painting fences, demolishing decks, and chopping wood. Under the stars we worshipped, learned and reflected. Did anyone mention a day of roller coasters and water slides at Silverwood?

Thank you Trinity for your prayers and support, this trip full of sweaty car rides, meaningful service, and sacred conversations couldn’t have happen without you!

Trinity Featured on PC(USA) Website

An article about Trinity Presbyterian Church entitled "Buckle Up, Hold On Tight, and Pray Like Crazy" appeared on the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s website under the "News" section.  This is the second publication in less than a month to report on Trinity's story. For many of us at Trinity, we forget has special the Trinity's history is and how much we have to be thankful for. It is always good to "rehearse our faith" by remembering our past.  

As Trinity looks forward to what we feel God is calling us to be and do, especially with the "Here for Good" Capital Campaign, we can easily become overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. These articles remind us that as God was faithful and enabled a small band of believers who acted on his call to service, so he will now provide the resources to complete his calling.  Further, we are encouraged by being a part of a larger community who celebrates with us God's work in our little corner of the Hilltop community.  

Trinity Hires New Clinic Director

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The Trinity Neighborhood Clinic is delighted to announce the hiring of Sarah Stacy as Clinic Director. Sarah recently relocated back to the South Sound to complete her master's degree in nursing at Pacific Lutheran University. Sarah joins the Trinity Neighborhood Clinic community with a passion to improve access to care for those that are vulnerable and under-insured in our community. A commitment to provide just and equitable healthcare for all is on of Sarah's foundational principles. 

While living in Seattle, Sarah worked for a managed care organization to improve access to care for Medicaid and Medicare members. Prior to that Sarah spent seven years in Olympia working in partnership with the Department of Health to develop patient-centered programs for Federally Qualified Health Centers in Washington state. Sarah was also a frequent volunteer medical assistant/nurse coordinator at The Olympia Free Clinic starting at its relaunch in 2011. While at the Free Clinic, she saw the amazing contributions a community of volunteers can make to reduce barriers to care and provide free services. Sarah is excited to be apart of the Trinity community and looks forward to meeting new faces.  

When she's not at the Clinic, Sarah enjoys hiking, biking and walks foraging for wild edibles in the woods and can be seen gleaning fallen fruit from neighborhood trees (with permission!) to make into fruit preserves. Sarah also likes exploring new towns and cities. Being new to Tacoma, she looks forward to exploring favorite local restaurants, parks and hidden treasures.

To contact Sarah for more information on the clinic or to volunteer to help (medical and non-medical volunteers are needed), contact her at trinityclinic@tpctacoma.org

Trinity featured in national magazine

Faith & Leadership is an online journal of the Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.  They aim to create lasting change by strengthening the Christian institutions that enable congregations and pastors to flourish.  This week, Faith & Leadership, focused onour church, Trinity Presbyterian Church. Under the headline, "How Serving its Community Transformed a Dwindling Church," the journal relates the story of Trinity and its continuing commitment to the Hilltop neighborhood.  

Recounting the beginnings of Trinity's volunteer efforts with the neighborhood schools, the article speaks of how these efforts grew into two major ministries: Trinity Afterschool Program for Bryant elementary children and the Bobcat Club at Jason Lee Middle School. Trinity's revitalization is seen as a by-product of its service to others.  And it doesn't stop in the past. The service to the neighborhood continues enliven the church and clarify its calling.  To read the entire journal article, click here

So Long, Hayley!

Hayley Uliana has been an AmeriCorps at Trinity for the last two years. Serving both with the Trinity Afterschool Program and the Bobcat Learning Center, her creativity, joyful spirit and dedication have made her a fantastic member of the team. We wish Hayley all the best as she prepares for where life takes her next.

The staff at Trinity is an eclectic bunch. It’s like being at a family reunion everyday, where your fun yet bizarre cousins, your crazy uncle, your overly inquisitive aunt, your wise godmother, and all the dads in the family that seem to have a pun for every occasion are all crammed into one house. Now, for some of you, this may sound like your worst nightmare causing post traumatic stress from imagining past family get togethers. And while every family has its flaws we, like a family, genuinely and deeply care for one another. It is that compassion and love that has made working at Trinity the most wonderful experience.

You never know what a day at Trinity will bring. One day you may be pranking Rod and working on lessons for TAP, laughing with everyone as you wait for him to come back and take a sip of his freshly salted water. The next day you could be running up and down the stairs going back and forth from the middle school while trying to figure out how your To Do list got to be so long. Other days may be more routine: chatting with Rachel, getting work done and joking about our hilarious, wonderful and infuriating kiddos with fellow AmeriCorps staff (Kyle, Laura and Daniel), hearing Cynthia talking to her computer, sometimes shouting, sometimes laughing, or listening to the faint bird chirping Julia plays as white noise in her office. Maybe you’ll get a special treat and be able to listen to Rod practicing for worship on Sunday or hear Pastor Matt going over his sermon through the surprisingly thin walls.

Heading out of Trinity House and over to the church, usually on Fridays to hang out with the middle schoolers and set up for TAP, you are greeted first thing by Ava and Maya always looking to play, adorable, energetic faces that I can never seem to say no to. Close behind them are Rosanne and Tracy, making sure their grandchildren don’t get into too much mischief as they work tirelessly setting up, running and breaking down the clothing bank. Even as they haul clothes, desks and toys back into storage they never fail to take the time to say Hi and exchange jokes about kids being kids. Rewind a day and in the very same spot you will find Ms Iris bustling away making food, cleaning up and prepping to open the Thursday night clothing bank saying, “God is good,” and “I can’t complain” when you ask how she’s doing. She has a unique gift of meeting people in love and truth just where they are at. I can honestly say that the rest of Trinity staff also has done that for me. I wanted to give this glimpse into how I have experienced life at Trinity because this is the place and these are the people that have made my two years working here so transforming, encouraging, challenging and uplifting.

There are also, of course, the kiddos. I could go on forever about how much I have learned and the passion I have for working with the students at Jason Lee and Bryant Montessori. I have been able to see leaders, scholars, athletes, musicians, comedians, artists, you name it just beginning to realize the unending potential that I am so anxious for them to fully discover. Working with the students in this community has truly shaped who I am and who I want to be, like making me realize my passion for working with middle schoolers. Who would have known?! If you had asked me two years ago what grades I would most want to teach, I would have told you anything BUT middle school. If they were anything like me in middle school, I was not going to be caught teaching that age group. Now, I’m hoping to pursue a Master’s in Teaching to do just that.

When it comes to the end of an era, in my case the end of my two years of AmeriCorps working at Trinity, it is hard to put into such concise words all the things I am thankful for, that I have learned, that have caused me to grow, and that have made me fall in love with the youth I have been able to serve and the Tacoma community. While it may be the end of one era, a new one is about to begin. I am all at once excited, terrified, lost and confident in the next steps I will be taking.

I’m not saying goodbye to Trinity, but if my future plans do take me somewhere else I will be taking with me all the things that the people at Trinity and the students at Jason Lee and Bryant have taught me.

Soup and Friends at Tony's

Over the last four years, Tony's Kitchen has been blessed by the presence of Sarah Ladderud, a University of Puget Sound graduate. First as an undergrad and, most recently, a student in the Masters in Occupational Therapy program, Sarah has consistently furthered the mission of Tony's Kitchen by sharing soup and conversation with our guests. Read on to hear what the experience has meant to her.

I have been serving at Tony’s Kitchen for the past four years, since my sophomore year at the University of Puget Sound, and it has been a truly invaluable experience. Tony’s has made a lasting impact on me, both personally and professionally. In fact, here in the last semester of my Masters of Occupational Therapy program at Puget Sound, I created a life skills business proposal in the hopes of continuing the work of serving the homeless through my professional and personal life.

Tony’s Kitchen is a rare type of community where many different kinds of people come together in one place. There is always laughter and active chitchat among the guests, talking about life or sports, or where the best breakfast options are. Our Tony’s volunteers consistently go above and beyond by getting to know our guests and helping in very tangible ways. This is the type of community that I hope to always be a part of - loving and supportive.

Among the Tony’s volunteers is a sense of shared life. I have seen other volunteers’ children grow up, and they have shared in my happiness, like when, just a few weeks ago, I got engaged! We have shared bad days and rough weeks, and, through it all, the community at Tony’s Kitchen has been simply amazing.

We don’t see every guest every week and there is always conversation around who is present and who we have not seen in awhile. The individuals who attend Tony’s Kitchen have increased my compassion, forgiveness, and empathy. Hearing their stories and life narratives have broadened the worldview I now hold. I have heard countless stories of layoffs, disease, and other life circumstances outside of individual control, landing these individuals on the streets of Tacoma, seeking support systems and other means of community. I believe that they can and have found that community at Tony’s Kitchen.

Now that my Master’s program is completed, my consistency at Tony’s may be coming to an end – though I am not positive what the future holds, exactly. I do know that I have found a source of community through Tony’s Kitchen, both with fellow volunteers as well as with the guests, that I will carry with me my whole life long. 

Nurturing a Child's Faith: FAQ

At our Family Faith Formation nights, Trinity families come together for a meal and workshop on different aspects of raising children in faith. On April 30th, we sat down with Heather Ingersoll, a specialist in child faith formation. Afterwards, we gathered your questions from Heather, and here are her answers.

1. How much of our kids' spiritual development spills out from our own, as opposed to child focused practices?

A lot! Research indicates that the strongest predictor of religiosity in adolescents is the faith of their parents. So if you can choose to only do one thing, modeling a faithful life is the most important. Ideally, balance modeling your faith and cultivating intentional faith practices with your children.

How can you model your faith? We've got some ideas!

  • Parental Religiosity: Intrinsic Value Regard
    • Recently, researchers have begun to investigate religiosity internalization. They found that the more children perceive that their parents internalize their faith, the greater likelihood that children will also have an internalized faith. So, if children sense that you aren't just "going through the motions," but that your faith really impacts your day to day life, they are more likely to adopt a faith that impacts their everyday life
  • Conversations
    • Engage in regular conversations about faith, where both the parent and child have opportunities to express their opinions and ask questions. This dyadic dimension is an important piece of the conversation, particularly as children reach upper elementary school. 
  • Shared practices/rituals
    • Regular practices that fit well into your every day life - and are not forced - are another good example. This can be simple practices, like prayer before bed or meals, a special blessings to say to each other on your way out the door, praying when an ambulance goes by, volunteering as a family, and more! Check out question #5 for more ideas and resources.
  • Religious Mentors
    • As your children get older, having other adult religious mentors in an important part of spiritual grown. Be intentional about surrounding your children with other adults who will connect with them this way.

2. How do we connect church on Sunday with the rest of the week? How do we keep spiritual conversations open?

  • Worship Together
    • Worshiping together can be valuable in so many ways. It gives you a shared experience, something you can talk about. It is a great opportunity for your kids to see your how much your faith means to you.
  • Have special Sunday rituals
    • For my family growing up, it was donuts after church. Have a special meal each Sunday, or a picnic at a favorite park. Setting aside intentional family time after church on Sunday mornings can provide the impetus for conversations and connections about your Sunday morning experience. Some days it could turn into deep conversations, and other days it might just be good family fun with no conversation about the Sunday morning experience at church...and that is okay. Both are important!
  • Conversation
    • Do you ever ask your child “How was Sunday school?” and get a one word response like “fine”. I love this list of questions to ask your child after school...use this as a guide to begin conversation either after church or after school during the week.
  • Prioritize your time
    • One of my colleagues thinks the greatest issue hurting the faith of our children and youth today is busyness. As children get older, it is difficult to avoid getting sucked into a highly scheduled family routine based around kids activities. While sports, music lessons, scouts, and other extra curricular activities are valuable, be sure to evaluate what they are replacing. Those things linked to spiritual well-being for children -- time out in nature, family rituals (like shared meals), relationships with adult mentors, free play, family sabbath, volunteering -- are often pushed aside due to the looming list of possible activities for your children. Be intentional and proactive when making choices of how your family will spend their time.

3. How do we teach age-appropriate faith when we, as the parents, are in such a different place? How can we separate our belief from fact, in explaining matters of faith with kids?

I think it might help to reframe your responsibility from that of teacher to that of guide or, in the words of Robert Coles, “fellow pilgrims.” Using a schooling-paradigm to understand the faith development can hinder our ability to recognize the depth of children’s experiences of faith.

  • Do more listening than talking. Invite children to share their perspectives. You can say, "I understand it this way, but I am curious how you understand it." 
  • Recognize and be mindful of the ways your children impact your faith. You are learning as much as they are.

4. How should we deal with resistance around prayer, coming to church, etc?

This can be a difficult one, but I think pushing your children into something they are resisting can be harmful to their faith in the long run. I always start by evaluating your child and the underlying cause for resistance:

  • Coming to church: Why don't they want to come? Bored? Not challenged? Would rather play video games? Does not have friends or other adult connections?
    • Bored: Would they like to be involved in leadership? Is there something your child loves to do that they could incorporate into Sunday mornings?
    • Relationships: Is there a way to be more intentional about helping your child build relationships? A playdate with other kids in the church? Invite an older adult couple to your home for dinner?
  • Resistance to prayer or other practices:
    • Don't force it. If it is part of a family ritual, give the child some    ownership about how you do you. Maybe invite him or her to explore different ways of praying. If they still resist, respect their right to not participate. Say something like "It is really important to us to take time out of our day to connect with God. We are still going to do it, but you are welcome to not participate."

5. What are some good ways to be intentional in family faith formation? What are the best rituals and systems?

The best rituals and systems are ones you will be able to do! Evaluate your family’s time and schedules. When are you all together? What do to love to do as a family? When do you kids seem more open to conversation?

For ideas, check out a new book by Traci Smith, Faithful Families.

6. How much information should we give to kids on complicated topics? How do we talk to kids about things we are not sure about?

Be honest. Dyadic conversation, when kids and parents share and learn from each other, is best. You don’t have to have the right answer! How you engage in the conversation is most important.

Some things to say:

  • Great question. I'm not really sure. I wonder how we might find an answer to that together.
  • This is the way I see it or what I believe. Others believe something different. What do you think?

7. How should I address questions about death? How do I field questions about death and heaven with a 4 year old?

The literature suggests that being open and honest about death is most important. Here are a few articles that have some good information:

  • How to Talk to Kids About Death, from the Child Development Institute
    • This article has helpful information about talking about death based on children’s age. There is a brief section about religion that cautions against saying, “This person is with God” because children might be worried they will be snatched away by God. I think discussing God and heaven is a crucial piece to talking about death. Preferably, it is something that you talk to your children about regularly, not just when someone has died. Young children enjoy dreaming of what heaven might be like.
  • Dealing with Death, from the Fred Rogers Company
    • Who doesn't love Fred Rogers? This is a valuable article and video modeling sensitive and honest approaches to talking about death with children.
  • The Jesus Comfort Quilt, from Beyond the Blue
    • This organization has good resources for helping children through grief. It includes coloring pages, things to think about, and is a helpful Christian perspective for helping grieving children.

Other Resources for Nurturing a Child's Faith

Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents

Faithful Families

Real Kids, Real Faith by Karen Marie Yust

Children’s Books:

Anything by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, for example God's Paintbrush

Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible

Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus

The Bible for Children by Murray Watts

Shine On: A Story Bible

The Jesus Storybook Bible

Julia's Takeaways from Heather's Presentation

  1. Even the youngest children experience God in their own way.

  2. These religious experiences are oftentimes spontaneous/unorchestrated, and are tied to the feeling of transcendence/being one with nature, and the people who love them and are close to them.
  3. Our culture offers fewer and fewer business free/media free "empty spaces" necessary for a healthy identity and faith formation.
  4. Both AUTONOMY and a sense of RELATEDNESS are important factors in faith formation: needs need to be surrounded by/loved/known by faithful adults who also value their choices and opinions.
  5. Authoritarian parenting and perceived conditional regard (thinking that you are loved conditionally) hurt faith formation.
  6. Formative faith development needs to happen INSIDE OUT instead of OUTSIDE IN. We need to know our children, see what makes them come alive, and support those experiences.
  7. We need to be open and listen for our children sharing their experiences of transcendence and communion with God, and to their thoughts and ideas about God without being overly didactic or cutting them off.
  8. Even as we try to find the best ways to facilitate faith formation in our children, we have hope and freedom from anxiety in the knowledge that God is seeking to connect with our children through, alongside, and in spite of our efforts.

30 Hour Famine 2017

Dear Trinity family,

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Thank you so much for your prayers and support as our youth participated in World Vision's 30 Hour Famine this past weekend! 

We prayed, we played, we volunteered at the Rescue Mission and St.Leo's Food Connection.

We learned that, according to UNICEF, in 2016, the number of Syrian refugee children officially reached a staggering 1 MILLION! In fact, in the 6 years of war, Syrian children suffered the worst in this past year. That is why, this year, Trinity's youth focused their 30 Hour Famine fundraising efforts on helping refugees. Every $40 donation made to World Vision helps feed one refugee child for a month. If you have not gotten a chance to contribute to this worthy cause and to help us reach our $3000 fundraising goal, we invite you to follow this link and share in our work. 

With deep gratitude, Julia

Meet the AmeriCorps: Laura

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This year, Trinity is delighted to host AmeriCorps Staff Laura Johnson. Originally from Montana, Laura comes to us from Pacific Lutheran University, where she received a BA in English Literature, with minors in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and Religion.  Serving primarily with the Bobcat Learning Center at Jason Lee, Laura teachers Enrichment Classes, tutors students, and supports the AVID classes.

My time at Trinity thus far has been filled with many challenges and rewards. I have found wonderful opportunities for personal growth, building relationships, and learning about community outreach. But amongst the activities that my job entails, the greatest learning experience has simply been spending time getting to know our middle school students--especially during our Friday programming at Trinity.

After a week of programming at Jason lee, our Fridays at Trinity are a time for fun and relaxing activities--for both the students and staff. Whether we watch a movie, cook, or simply play games, there is always an abundance of laughter. A few weeks ago, I tried a new activity: leading the kids in making crepes.

French food and culture was a large part of my high school and college experience, and I was excited to share with the students in this small way. What I did not anticipate, however, was how engaged they would be. They took initiative in the cooking process in a way that I had not experienced with them before. Additionally, when I flipped a few crepes in the pan, they were impressed. And impressing a middle schooler is no small feat.

Beyond the lessons of adaptability, responsibility, and leadership that I am continuing to learn during my time here, I am also learning about the necessity (and joy) of spontaneity and surprises. Just as my students surprise and surpass my expectations, I can surprise them. Education is not and should not be a one way street. So in the next few months I’m looking forward to being surprised even more.

Rod Nash, director of Outreach at Trinity, sat in with Laura’s Enrichment Class early in her time here.

Earlier this fall, during just the second week of programming at the Bobcat Learning Center, I got to see Laura in action at the L.C.  I knew both students and staff were just getting their feet wet with the after-school program.  When I walked into the Library, I saw Laura standing in front of a group of 10-15 kids discussing their enrichment activity for the day.  I watched as she spoke to the group, calling on students at different times. I knew that Laura was teaching an enrichment that involved students in a role-playing strategy game, and I had not been sure how students would react to this enrichment.  To my surprise and pleasure, kids seemed 100% engaged and excited about what they were preparing to do.  It was also enlivening to see Laura begin to teach these students about an activity she has grown to love in her own life.  

Laura absolutely brings all of who she is to the Learning Center program, and our students are so lucky to have a leader like her to guide them along the way.  

-Rod Nash, Director of Outreach, Trinity Pres. Church

Lenten Devotional

Throughout this season of Lent, you are invited to join with the Trinity Community in a daily Lenten Devotional. These short passages are intended to prepare hearts, minds, and souls to receive the good news of the Resurrection on Easter. 

The full devotional is available to download here.

Use these links to access the devotional on a week-by-week basis.

Week 1 March 1 - March 4

Week 2 March 6 - March 11

Week 3 March 13 - March 18

Week 4 March 20 - March 25

Week 5 March 27 - April 1

Week 6 April 3 - April 8

Week 7 April 10 - April 16

Meet the AmeriCorps: Daniel

Daniel Akamine is an AmeriCorps member from Hawaii. Serving primarily with the Bobcat Learning Center at Jason Lee, Daniel teachers Enrichment Classes, tutors students, and supports the AVID classes. Daniel is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Get to know Daniel more by reading of his time with Trinity so far.

I had never worked with middle school students before my AmeriCorps position at Trinity. My anxious assumption about these students stemmed from my own experiences as a 13 year old, when my friends and I enjoyed making our math and choir teacher cry. I assumed middle school students would be an intimidating and rambunctious group.

My expectations proved somewhat true. On my first day, I got into a argument with a student because they wanted to leave school early even though they were signed up for our after school programming. The interaction left me feeling like a failure, and I wondered if I was cut out to work with middle school students. As time went on, I continued to have similar interactions with students, but instead of failures, they were lessons. I realized these interactions could be a shout for attention; when students opened up to me about their personal lives, much of how they acted in school reflected the daily struggles they faced. I eventually learned that teaching middle school students is like a balancing act. You need to provide them with structure and rigidity, while simultaneously gives them slack and a nurturing environment.

I am continuously educating myself on how to better my approach my students facing difficult situations. This job keeps me on my feet and humble because not everyday is a good day for the students and I, but even the bad days are a catalyst as I continue to develop my communication and teaching style. The wisdom is in the work.

Rod Nash, Director of Outreach here at Trinity, recently observed Daniel while he worked at the Learning Center.

At the Learning Center we combine daily homework and study sessions with various enrichment activities for our Jason Lee students.  Last week I had the pleasure of watching Daniel Akamine lead his cooking enrichment activity.  15 or so students filled up the staff room at Jason Lee Middle School while Daniel worked with them to prepare tacos for their enrichment that day.  It was exciting to see Daniel’s skill and ability to work with all different types of students while guiding them toward a common goal of … well … tacos.  A worthy goal, to be sure!!   I could not be more proud of Daniel’s work with all our Learning Center students this year, and I know they are incredibly lucky to have him to work with each day after school.     

Thank you, Daniel, for being a part of the team!

Your support of the Trinity Outreach Programs, including the upcoming Outreach Auction, help us keep the incredible AmeriCorps staff on hand. We invite you to support this program and others, by registering for the Outreach Auction today!

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Meet the AmeriCorps: Hayley

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This year, Trinity is grateful to host Hayley Uliana as a second-year AmeriCorps member. Serving primarily with TAP, Hayley also oversees the Bryant Late Start program at Trinity, and serves in the AVID classes at Jason Lee with her AmeriCorps peers. Hayley comes to us from Hawaii, by way of Azusa Pacific University, where she received a BA in Philosophy, with a minor in English. Read on to hear about her time with Trinity so far.

“Having a year under my belt with the TAP program has been a wonderful thing. I have learned more than I could ever have thought to from teachers, coworkers, supervisors, and the kiddos themselves. I am humbled to assist in classrooms at Jason Lee and Bryant Montessori, seeing the teachers go through lesson plans and interact with students so smoothly, facing each challenge with quick wit, compassion, adaptability, and tact. No one is perfect, but even in their mistakes I see these teachers offering grace to themselves and being willing to admit when they are wrong.

“Our students at TAP give me the chance to practice the values I witness; compassion, humility and adaptability. I’m glad they have patience with me too; they either have the grace of a saint or the memory of a goldfish because Lord knows I make mistakes I don’t expect to recover from. But the kiddos are there the next day; smiles beaming and mouths running on about how they were the fastest runner during kickball. There are so many things I have learned and even more that I still will learn while working here at TAP. I am grateful the past year and a half of opportunities; from playing pranks on Roderic with my partner in crime, Rachel, to reading an entire lesson with a student in our best Liza Minnelli impressions.“

From TAP Coordinator, Rachel Boisen:

“I have had the pleasure of working with Hayley for nearly 1.5 years, and could draft an encyclopedia of her merits. But, instead of that worthy venture, let me tell you one of the greatest differences she has made at TAP these last six months.

“By far, the greatest struggle TAP faced last year was finding sufficient volunteers to tutor with our students. Our program is structured with the intent that three days a week, each student benefits from one-on-one literacy tutoring. Last year, we couldn't manage it. Overzealous student recruitment, and the necessary departure of several faithful volunteers left us with an unfortunate imbalance in our programming. The remaining team bore the burden well, but we clearly were not operating under optimal conditions.

“When 2016-2017 program planning began, Hayley took up the cause. In the short weeks between beginning her second Service Year and the start of TAP, she recruited enough volunteers to meet our program needs and even expand to include additional children. As time has progressed, she continues to spearhead tutor recruitment and training to ensure our students receive the support they need.”

“All of our students are progressing admirably through the program, making impressive gains that would not have been possible without the individualized tutoring Hayley's recruitment allows for. It continues to be a privilege to have her on the team, filling important gaps and assisting in creating a more sustainable program.’

Thank you Hayley for being a part of the team! You support of the Trinity Outreach Programs, including the upcoming Outreach Auction, help us keep the incredible AmeriCorps staff on hand. We invite you to support this program and others, by registering for the Outreach Auction today!

The Men's Retreat - in his words

A great time to build deeper relationships with other men from Trinity.
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While the stereotype of the American male is a taciturn beast who grunts occasionally when prodded, the men of Trinity break that mold. In describing their annual weekend retreat away, Trinity's men are voluble and sound almost giddy with a bit of joy thrown in. And they've already planned next year's Men's Retreat: January 19 - 21, 2018. These guys are serious about getting away together.

Listen to them describe their retreat . . . in their words

Great time to let go of the daily grind and just have some good old fashioned fun while allowing space to make deeper connections with other guys.

"Each year the Men's Retreat seems to get better and better, probably because guys just know each other better and we build on the past years' momentum.  I'm really grateful for all the men who make it a priority to be there, and as someone said last year, the Retreat really makes Sunday mornings (and our whole church) feel totally different.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this one happen!"

“There isn’t a better group of 38 guys around to share a weekend with! Great time to get to know and be known.

What do I like best about the Men's Retreat? Let me give you a list: 

1. Fellowship gained from laughter, open and playful competition, becoming more closely united.  

2. Spiritual growth as co-equals in spiritual fellowship with each other and Jesus' inter mediating our unity.

3. The accumulative affect from the efforts of each leader's guided focus. Members of our small groups being able to reveal ever increasing parts of our personal stories. ...I came home off a personal "mountaintop" experience.

Trinity Youth at Peace

Less than a week after we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., Trinity youth visited our neighbors at Peace Lutheran Church. Here, they had the opportunity to learn more about the unfolding story of the Hilltop neighborhood, and the differences that churches like Peace and Trinity have made in bringing life to the vision of a thriving neighborhood, where "All Lives are Precious."

Trinity Teens participated in worship, met with Peace youth directory, Brendan Nelson, and heard about the ways racism, lack of affordable housing, and lack of access to healthy food and quality education are affecting the lives of real people, and what youth in the church can do about it.

Thank you, Peace Lutheran and Brendan, for hosting our Trinity Youth as we continue to pursue reconciliation in the Hilltop together.

Thanks to Dorothy, a beloved intern!

If you've been around TAP or Tony's Kitchen over the last few months, then you probably met Dorothy!

Dorothy has been serving an internship program at Trinity's Afterschool program as a part of her studies at Tacoma Community College's, Human Services program. Between her knack for wrangling kids, and a commitment to serving our community with dignity, she was an important part of the team. Even though her internship requirements are completed for TCC, Dorothy has fallen in love with these programs this fall, and will continue to serve on the Tony's Kitchen team in the new year.

Thank you Dorothy for all your hard work, and thank you TCC for sending her our way!

HERE: Prayer Vigil

Last month, Trinity hosted a 24 hour Prayer Vigil, lifting up our church, our ministry, and the HERE Campaign in a full day of prayer.

This time gave our community an opportunity to engage in expressive prayer through different mediums like art, sparkle jars, and images for reflection. While the experience was unfamiliar to many participants, Dustin Haferbecker and his boys found the time to meaningful. Said Dustin,

I went with my older boys (8 and 6), and wasn’t sure how they would do. Before I knew it, an hour had gone by and we were all engaged. On our way out, the host asked the boys how it was, and my oldest responded, “an emotional experience”. As we pulled out of the parking lot my 6 year old asked if we could do it again soon. When we got home, they ran into the house before me and said to Jenny that it was “awesome,” and that she would have loved it. It was creative, well planned, and beautifully put together. It felt sacred, and it was.

As we continue to move forward with our HERE Campaign, we invite you to continue the ministry of the Prayer Vigil by creating a Circle of Prayer around our space. When you arrive at Trinity and when you leave, you are invited to walk around the building and ask God to bless the church and the vision of the HERE Campaign.

"Dear People of Faith..." Recap

On the evening of Tuesday, October 27th, Trinity was honored to welcome Dr. Jen Harvey, professor of religion at Drake University, for a workshop entitled, "Dear People of Faith ... Now What?"  The workshop was coordinated in partnership between Trinity, Pacific Lutheran University, Bethany Presbyterian, First United Methodist and Tacoma College Ministry, and focused on issues of racial justice, reconciliation and reparation in the United States.  

 

A group of 80-90 attendees from the Tacoma/Seattle area gathered to hear Dr. Harvey’s thoughts on what it means for 21st century Christians to not only seek racial reconciliation in our current national climate, but to change that paradigm by considering the work that is required in true reconciliation - something that Dr. Harvey suggests is seldom considered in this conversation.  

 

We are grateful for the many attendees who took time out of their schedules to engage in this critical conversation and to taking seriously Dr. Harvey’s charge that we, the Church, have real work to do in the area of racial repair on our way to true reconciliation.

 

Dr. Harvey’s teaching, writing and public speaking focus on encounters of religion and ethics with race, gender, spirituality, justice and other social issues. She is also an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches USA and author of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation and Whiteness and Morality: Pursuing Racial Justice through Reparations and Sovereignty.