by Kathy Marson
SPOKANE, Wash., November 10, 2015 - A beehive of activity is taking place in a little house between Spokane Central Church and its fellowship hall. The church is fixing up the house as an after-school activity center.
The house, once a parsonage for the fellowship hall back when it was owned by another church, went on sale this past summer, and church members jumped at the chance to own it. Members of the church are excited to be able to contribute to the needs of their community and have spent hours tearing off siding, tearing out carpet, building a retaining wall, pulling out carpet tacks, landscaping and more.
Rachel Sumagpang, executive director for this new venture, is working with Patty Marsh, Upper Columbia Conference Adventist Community Services (ACS) director, and Gayle Haeger, urban ministries coordinator for Spokane. They have talked with principals and educators in Spokane School District 81 and are working on a plan that will identify students who will most benefit from their after-school program.
The team plans to by open for about two hours after school, Monday through Thursday. Several people from the school district have encouraged them, saying, “Anything you can do for our children would be a real contribution to the community.” The local school, Emerson/Gafield, is in one of the more impoverished in the state of Washington.
Members hope that, come Jan. 4, 2016, the little house will be teeming with activity after school with hands-on fun through a curriculum emphasis called STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.)
With the project still underway, team members need to finish the oak floors, put siding on the outside walls and finish the retaining walls. The siding was donated by Hy Mark Wood Products. A donor provided substantial funds to get this project started, and ACS provided some startup funds.