By Cathleen Daly
Communications Major, Honors College
Calli Surridge is a high-energy, Christ-loving senior in Grand Canyon University’s Honors College, majoring in sociology. She plans on continuing her education through obtaining certification in occupational therapy here in Arizona. Her dream is to be a pediatric occupational therapist and pursue medical opportunities in missions once she becomes established in her career.Surridge’s love for children extends beyond her career aspirations. This year, Surridge is one of four leaders for one of many GCU’s flourishing campus ministries in partnership with Local Outreach and Global Outreach called Youth Outreach.
Youth Outreach was launched in October 2015, and works with students in grades 6, 7 and 8 in the surrounding neighborhoods. The kids come to campus, where the four leaders and a team of about 10 volunteers spend time with the kids through playing creative games, eating yummy food, having spontaneous dance parties and then ending the night with sharing the gospel.
“The kids have so much energy and passion about life – they are always ready to jump in and try new things!” Surridge exclaimed.
Starting a ministry can seem like a daunting task, but the Youth Outreach team was passionate about the challenge. Surridge and her team entrusted God with this ministry, “As long as you are in line with His will, He is totally going to bless it.”
And God did. The ministry consists of approximately 30 middle school students, and they continue to grow every week.
So, you want to join Youth Outreach?
Surridge expressed that one of the qualities that the leadership team greatly emphasizes to those who are interested in volunteering is commitment. She explained that the volunteer’s attitude of commitment to the kids should express, “If I say, see you next week, then they are actually there next week.”
The kids need to see consistency. They all come from different backgrounds and upbringings. She explained that for most of the kids, pizza is a treat, having a community of positive young-adult Christian mentors is rare or unheard of, and some of them had never even gone bowling before until Youth Outreach.
Volunteers also need to have patience. The kids have so much energy, and they are also learning the gospel, most for the first time. She went on to say that sharing the gospel with the kids who had never heard it before continues to be her favorite part of Youth Outreach.
Surridge, compassionately, finished with saying, “We just want really passionate people about Youth Ministry.”
God is truly doing incredible things for the community through the students of Grand Canyon University. If you are interested in learning more about our Christian identity and heritage, visit our website or contact us today using the Request More Information form at the top of the page.