Upper Columbia Conference Outreach Activities

STEAM Ahead @ Discovery Junction, an after-school enrichment program providing learning opportunities for kids from a low-income public school, began its fourth year – third full year. It is open to 3rd and 4th graders on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. This year the two days will have different 3rd graders, so 21 children will be attending in a given week. An electrical engineer, employed by Avista electrical company, will be one of the instructors. A former librarian whose specialty happens to be LegoRobotics will also assist with the STEAM Program.

A Ph.D. in Psychology asked Gayle Haeger, one of the organizers of STEAM, to speak to a select group about “Adventists and Ecology” in a local Peace and Unity Center. Only when the leader mentioned to Gayle after the program, “Let’s get together for Postum,” did Gayle suspect she must be a former Adventist member. Later when they met for Postum, she shared with Gayle her Adventist background and journey. During that time she asked if she too could join occasionally with STEAM in bettering the lives of the children.

This summer, STEAM Ahead’s five-week summer program involved LegoRobotics, MicroScope Studies, Crafts, and two children’s Cooking Classes. Over 50 children attended each week, including five Nepalese children. Several children were present for more than one week. In addition, a junior camp at Camp MiVoden was organized where seven children from STEAM attended. The UCC Urban Ministries also for the third year presented a VBS for the Nepalese and Burmese children. Their Urban Ministries Bible worker now conducts 18 Bible studies – including 4 university students.

The Spokane Central Church is offering “Fall Parenting Classes,” by a social worker and a nurse especially for the refugee mothers and others, too. The Better Living Center (BLC) which is a food pantry and community outreach center serving inner-city Spokane, also gives out Bible studies. Around ten people attend their Bible study circle “All Nations Warriors for Christ” each week. Picnics and parties are also planned throughout the year with many more Native Americans attending. The Community Center is now giving free food samples once a week. They are also working on setting up a medical/dental clinic which should be ready by December or January.