SEED had it's beginnings as the youth ministry at New Hope Christian Church through the leadership of Shawn Smith and the leadership Team in February 2008.
I remember one Wednesday night several years ago, I was in the middle of teaching our High School students when I slowly lost all their attention and watched their eyes drift from looking at me, to the window behind me. As I turned to see what they were looking at, there were about 15 kids (4 years of age to middle school age) standing outside our church looking through the windows to see what was going on. I paused what I was doing to check out what they needed. The older kids shared with me that they too wanted to be inside and be part of our program. My heart broke for these kids in an instant. It was dark, raining, and they wanted to be a part of what we were doing... And I had no option other than to say NO. We didn't have the means at that time to invite them in and provide something for these kids AND for the students we were already serving. So I sent them home, which was behind our church property in an apartment complex.
I think this was the moment I fell in love with South Everett. It was definitely the moment I realized the great need in our neighborhood along with the great opportunity we have to build up a generation looking for acceptance, hope, and a place to belong. To look into those kids' eyes and tell them the church had nothing to offer them was one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced, and it was one I NEVER want to feel again!
It wasn't too long after this that New Hope was able to hire me in a full time position, which was a really exciting step in this journey! My first order of business was reaching out to the local schools. The very essence of the Gospel calls us to GO and SHARE. I've always wanted SEED to be where the students are. I know Jesus wants SEED to be where the students are. Voyager Middle School welcomed SEED with open arms and we began to have opportunities serving not only students, but whole families and the staff as well. Over time, our partnership has grown; assisting in providing backpacks and school supplies for kids in need, offering hope during the holidays for families in need, building relationships with students during lunch, and we even helped one family move from one apartment to another!
School partnership has only grown from there and has become a big part of who we are. After meeting with Kathrine Pence (principal at Olivia Park Elementary School), we launched a homework club program for 5th grade students at Olivia Park. The purpose of this club is to assist with homework, but more importantly, to develop relationships with the students and share with them about our community at SEED. It's been a great place to allow older students to come and serve students coming up behind them, teaching leadership, communication, and relationship skills. We are in our second year of Homework club and have a regular attendance of forty 5th graders, many of which will be attending our Middle School program in the Fall.
I have found that our God is incredibly faithful and I have been blown away by the faithfulness of His people. The support and prayer of people who believe in our mission has allowed us to grow from serving just 5 students in the beginning to over 150 students weekly, which we could not have done otherwise. A few years ago SEED began a partnership with Pathways Church in Mill Creek whichhas served as a catalyst for where we are now headed. Together, our two churches have been able to accomplish more than either of us could do on our own. I think that's the beauty of the Church working together. I can only imagine what partnering with 3, 4, or 5 churches in our community could do for the Kingdom.
As we step into this new place (SEED as a non-profit organization) the future is centered in the support from and through the local church. We are reaching so many students which is a huge blessing, but also presents new challenges. Going into the 2017/2018 school year, we are planning on serving upward 160 students weekly. To accomplish this the best way possible, we calculate a volunteer need of 35 NEW staff to assist in relationship building, discipling, tutoring, and sharing the love of Jesus.
Consider joining our tribe! Check out the different programs we offer and submit a volunteer form!
Thank you for your time and continued prayer!
If you have any questions about SEED and how you can serve,
please reach out to myself or one of our amazing staff!
Executive Director // Pastor
206.963.0717 // firstname.lastname@example.org