A Place to Serve: Arise

By Jill Hoenig
In eLetter
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My family came to IBC about 13 years ago when our girls were very young. Each week we checked them into childcare while we attended worship. It wasn’t long before we felt like we needed to find a spot to volunteer for a couple reasons. First, because other volunteers were serving our kids and second, because we knew that would be the way to meet others and get plugged in.

I signed up to be a coach for preschool, which was called Zone Junior at the time. My husband was on the hospitality team, greeting and assisting with check-in. We attended first service and served every other week during second service. At that time, the Special Needs area was located within Zone Junior and was a much smaller ministry than it is today. Each week I’d see two little guys who attended class and large group worship and had a “Pal” (an assigned volunteer) with them. In a short amount of time those guys stole my heart, and I knew I needed to spend more time with them. On my weeks off from volunteering in Zone Junior I started serving with the Arise Ministry and was immediately hooked. I found my spot!!

Over time, I ended up serving in Arise weekly and soon my daughters were volunteering with me. At that time, it was the only place that younger kids were able to serve. It was an incredible experience to watch my girls be completely selfless in serving others and develop relationships with this amazing group of kids. Before long, we were also serving as a family at Respite, which is a program that offers parents of kids with special needs a night out once a month. My girls went on to be a Pal for two kids who we adore and they—and their families—have become like family to us.

It’s funny because people will say “it’s amazing that you help special needs kids,” but they couldn’t be more wrong. It’s what this community does for me! They bring me so much joy. Being with them truly IS my happy place. I have learned so much and my heart has been forever changed, mostly by people who don’t use words to communicate. In addition, I have formed precious friendships with other volunteers whom I wouldn’t have otherwise met.

If you’re on the fence about finding a place to serve, don’t be. You’ll never regret giving your time and energy to help others, and you just might be surprised at how much you get back in return.

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