Courtney Grau, Good Soil Initiative Coordinator, Q & A
Interested in becoming part of The Salvation Army's Good Soil Initiative? Read on to learn, first-hand, what the job entails.
What are the three main responsibilities you take on regularly as a GSI Coordinator?
My responsibilities vary, but my three main areas of responsibility include:
1. Creating the space and opportunity for youth to experience God and grow spiritually.
2. Helping youth to develop strong and lasting friendships with other believers by creating a safe and welcoming environment where they are free to explore God's place for them.
3. Encouraging youth to participate in Salvation Army activities, in order for them to develop a sense of belonging within the Christian community.
What is the value of the program for you professionally?
Through my role as the youth ministries director and Good Soil Initiative coordinator, I'm gaining valuable on-the-job training for a life-long career in youth ministry. I've always loved children but wasn't aware I wanted to pursue a career working with kids until I spent a summer working at a Salvation Army day camp. It was then that God spoke to my heart to continue working with at-risk youth, and I'm so blessed to have been given the opportunity to pursue this kind of career.
What about personally?
Where do I begin? This experience has opened my eyes to the strife and struggle many children face in today's society. It's provided me with a sense of purpose, knowing I'm in a position to make a positive and lasting impact in the lives of each and every one of these children.
Already, I care more for these children and their families than I ever thought possible, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to work with them. Moving away from family and friends has been hard, but all of these families have embraced me as their own, and I feel so blessed every day. I've always known God had a plan for my life, but it wasn't until I truly surrendered my plans for His, that all of this good has come.
What value does this program have for children?
This program is invaluable for children. Through our programs, children are given access to opportunities and resources they would not normally have. They gain a sense of belonging, through fellowship with other believers, and they're able to talk openly and truly experience God.
Through this initiative we've established and reinforced our character-building programs, which are geared toward strengthening a child's relationship with God, reinforcing a child's self-esteem, social skills, and, of course, integrity. We engage the children in various activities which challenge them spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. Children are building strong and lasting connections with their peers, as well as adult leaders and community members, to ensure they'll always have a positive support system, regardless of the many hardships and challenges they may face.
Please share about the children impacted.
I have seen children gain confidence and begin to open up to those around them. There have been several instances where children, who would typically watch from afar and show little interest in participating, have stepped up and even taken on leadership roles among their peers.