By Lane Riley
Delta Hands for Hope is a new ministry. As an organization, we are barely 3 years old, and for the summer of 2016, I was able to recruit two wonderful, educated, reliable college students to work with me this summer through Student.Go, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s student missions initiative.
I personally asked one of my current volunteers and someone from my home church to work with me. CBF provided the infrastructure, training, debriefing and stipend that made it possible for me to bring in two very capable people who were able to help make this summer our most successful program yet!
Shaw, Mississippi, is a rural town in the Mississippi Delta. It has its own unique culture and history that makes it special, but sometimes weirdly unique.
I asked Shalisa Jackson to work with Delta Hands for Hope because she has volunteered with me previously. She grew up in Shaw, went to school here and knows almost everyone. With a population of about 1,800 people, it’s hard to not know someone. She is athletic and is going to a great college, and she is a great role model for the youth in Shaw.
I want youth currently participating in our programs to eventually serve through Student.Go, and thought this would be a great way to show them what an internship looks like.
Jennifer Jennings and I grew up in the same church. Because of this, I know she has the same view of mission as me, and has the experience of working with similar programs. I knew she would be a great fit with us.
There are many young people in CBF that make excellent Student.Go interns. Many of these grew up in CBF churches and many grew up in CBF ministries. This creates a great dynamic, bringing together a diverse group of people to serve in many great ministry positions. It was excellent to have two very different women work with me this summer. They were diverse in their race, home state, denomination and area of study in college.
Bringing together two unique individuals into a unique ministry helps my youth to see more possibilities and meet different type of people.
I am encouraged by seeing youth that grew up with Together for Hope Arkansas participate in Student.Go. I see how wonderful the program has been for their individual lives and for the life of CBF.
This is what I want for my youth. I want them to see a network of people that truly care and will invest in them for personal growth, leadership and mission opportunities. I have youth that are now talking about volunteering with me or at a sister organization when they get to college. This encourages them to go to school and gives them a reason and an outlet for how to give back. And it encourages me to know I belong to a network that sees their worth.
To learn how you or a college-age student you know can be a part of Student.Go, visit www.cbf.net/studentdot to explore opportunities and apply.
Lane Riley serves as the program director for Delta Hands for Hope in Shaw, Miss., which is part of Together for Hope, CBF’s rural poverty initiative. Learn more about Delta Hands for Hope here.