This summer, a hundred volunteers will gather in York city for a one-week work camp. They’ll install ramps, do minor repairs, and make modifications to help low-income seniors stay in their homes safely — and they’ll do it for free.
The camp is run by Servants, a nonprofit that connects volunteers with people in need through service projects and short-term mission trips. The work camp’s home base, though, will be at another nonprofit: Logos Academy, an independent accredited K-12 school that has the space needed to host that many volunteers.
It may seem like a small thing — one nonprofit providing space to another – but it’s part of a larger effort by several local organizations to work together to make York a better place.
‘We can’t do this on our own’
Partnering with other like-minded nonprofits just makes sense to Matt Carey, CEO of LifePath Christian Ministries.
“We all touch or serve the same population in some way or another,” he says. “Why are we not working collaboratively together?”
LifePath takes a wholistic approach to helping individuals who come through its doors. It’s not just about providing food, clothing, and shelter; they search out root causes for chronic homelessness, connect individuals with mental health services, and provide job training and financial literacy programs.
“The thing with us,” Matt says, “is we know we can’t do this on our own.”
So, they’re expanding that wholistic approach beyond their own services.
Working with Servants and Logos Academy allows LifePath to better serve the community.
They can share resources, connect volunteers and donors, and coordinate efforts to make sure they’re taking care of everyone they can.
“We all agree that we have one common agenda,” Matt says. “And that agenda is to make this community better.”
A connection based in faith
Trent Davis was working as an accountant when he felt God calling him to take a different path.
That’s when he founded Servants.
“We connect compassionate people with people in crisis,” he says.
At Servants, organizers work closely with churches to find volunteers and connect them to mission trips, disaster recovery trips, and service projects in the community.
Servants, LifePath, and Logos Academy are all Christian-based. Their faith is one thing that ties them together, a driving force behind each group’s mission.
But that doesn’t limit the scope of their commitment to the community.
“We’re not just interested in serving Christians,” says Aaron Anderson, CEO of Logos Academy.
People tend to think of independent schools as high performing, elitist, and expensive, Aaron says.
With this year’s senior class earning the highest average SAT scores across York and Adams counties, the first is certainly true for Logos Academy.
Their average student, though, pays just $1,800 a year for tuition, and two-thirds of students at Logos Academy live right around the poverty line.
Like the leaders of the other nonprofits, Aaron says it takes more than just his organization alone to fix the problems his students face.
“You can’t simply educate your way out of poverty,” he says.
Housing, healthcare, education, job training — all of these areas mutually impact each other, Aaron says.
That’s why it’s important for leaders who work in these service agencies to work together.
Sometimes, working together is as simple as Logos offering its space to house a project or event.
Other times, it reaches an individual level.
Relying on partners
LifePath employees know homelessness doesn’t just affect adults. Kids who are in a homeless situation often get moved from one school district to another.
But when LifePath partners with Logos Academy, they can provide that child stability in education, even through those housing changes.
It’s that individual connection that drives Aaron.
“When you meet people and hear their stories, and when you see the societal structures that are hurting people,” he says, “you can’t help but try to act.”
And acting is easier when there are partners to rely on.
When a family connected with LifePath needs a modification to be able to stay in their home, Matt knows he can turn to Trent at Servants.
Working together allows us to make a broader impact on the community, Trent says.
Focused on the future
Matt hopes that one day he’ll be out of a job, that there’s no need for shelters like LifePath.
But until then, he’s focused on working collaboratively to make a positive change in the community he serves.
He points to Give Local York’s Big Give Day, a huge success where nonprofits across the region came together and raised almost $1.5 million.
“Just think if we came together again and again and again,” he says.
The leaders of Logos, LifePath and Servants aren’t naïve; they know there’s a lot of need and a lot of work still to be done in York.
But by working together, they all believe they can make a difference.
Click here to see the whole article at Our York Media. June 2018