Friends and Supporters of Uffizi!
This week marks our seventh year of working with Westmont College and their Spring Break in the City program. This is a program we helped develop years ago with a core group of inspired Westmont students, and is now an official program of Westmont under their Urban Initiative Program. They will be learning about and engaging with various marginalized people groups in Santa Barbara.
This week I had the amazing opportunity of introducing them to the homeless situation in our city. You can see a picture of the team I worked with above in the photo when we met with Mayor Helene Schneider to talk about the appropriate role of government when it comes to solving homelessness. We also did sock outreach, met with local business partners who have partnered to help house individuals, and some of the students engaged in public comment during Santa Barbara City Hall. It was a full day!
I spoke to the students about the purpose of the day – that I believed there were three types of students with me that day. One group would learn to be more compassionate and understanding of the complexities around homelessness. A second group would begin to desire to do more by coming to Alameda Park every Thursday to be with street friends, and desire to make connections that may help some of homeless. The final group would be called by Christ to commit long term to being with people on the streets and create system change for them in the long run. I believe I met some “called” students this week and will be following up with them.
Westmont College and the larger church body in Santa Barbara can have a huge role in ending local homelessness and bringing the love of God to those who are currently suffering on the streets. Thank you for your support so I can continue to work with Westmont students and engage them in local mission!
Jeff, Julia, Kairos, Kennah, and Kalum Shaffer