Merced County Times Newspaper
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Restore Merced, an organization which helps job seekers in downtown Merced, also had a booth at the event.

‘Be the Change’ at Yosemite Church promotes outreach

After the 9 a.m. Sunday service at Yosemite Church in Merced on June 23, several hundred people attended an event called Be the Change, which encouraged them to be a force for positive change in their community and in the world.
During an interview with the Times, Sarah Kohn, the Missions Director for Yosemite Church, explained, “It was focused around our local organizations. We had 10 come out — Love, INC, Alpha Pregnancy Help Center, Merced Rescue Mission, KAMB Radio Station, CASA, Restore Merced, Life Line CDC, ACE Overcomers, Merced Jail Ministry, and Hope Mountain.”

Those browsing the stations set up under tents were able to hear how the 10 local organizations were involved in the community and how they could be involved with the organizations.

People enjoyed the half-day event, which was held on the patio and lawn by the sanctuary.
Kohn said, “I received a lot of positive feedback from those attending.”

Lunch was provided by Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-step program for those with hurts, habits and hang-ups, which has national origins. Tropical Craze provided snow cones, and MacDoogles provided kettle korn. Children and adults enjoyed water slides set up on the lawn.

When asked how the event came about, Kohn said, “The Missions Team at Yosemite Church supports local organizations and non-profits and also national and global missionaries.  We have students and adults who go on mission trips, and we support them.  We wanted people to understand what they do and how they could get involved.”

Describing some of the participating entities she thought might be unfamiliar to most people, Kohn said, “Restore Merced was started by Matt St. Pierre. It is focused on creating opportunities for local people in downtown Merced. They have an after-school program for kids called the Downtown Kids Club, and they have Restore Jobs, which helps people receive job training and experience as a stepping stone to meaningful work. The participants earn a small wage for cleaning up the community, which provides them with work experience so they can more easily get a job.

“Hope Mountain was started by Steve and Ellisa Rough, members of the congregation.  It’s a Philippines-based mission project.  On a plot of land owned by Steve Enad, another member of our congregation, they developed an after care program to help children who are removed from their homes because they were victims of sexual exploitation.  They provide a new home in the Philippines for the victims.  Siblings can live with each other, and they receive counseling, education, life skills training, and medical care. The program is working on constructing three homes, and their goal is to have 15. They will be building a school next.

“Merced Jail Ministry is a Christian ministry through the County of Merced currently being run by Chaplain Manny that provides guidance for people in the county who are incarcerated.  Once they are released from jail, they help them get involved with the church, and provide GED classes and counseling sessions.

“KAMB Radio Station is instrumental in getting the Word out to people and providing Christian music and wholesome programming for people to listen to.”

For more information about any of these community organizations, those interested can call Yosemite Church at 209-383-5038 or search online for:

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