12xSSP Spotlight: Andrew Freedman

Andrew Freedman
Former Youth with Point Pleasant UMC, Elk Grove UMC, and Individual Volunteer
Summer Staff Alumnus
12xSSP Donor

What have you gained from your SSP experiences?

Andrew: “My SSP experiences have taught me to always keep an open mind about others. I have also learned about creating loving and welcoming communities. I have gained meaningful leadership experience from being on SSP summer staff, and of course I have learned a ton about construction!”

My SSP experiences have taught me to always keep an open mind about others.”

What are you doing now?

Andrew: “I am a full-time second year student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I am working as a Resident Assistant in a freshman hall on campus. I am also in the rehearsal process for Legally Blonde: The Musical, and in March I will be performing the role of Warner.”

I am greatly thankful for the opportunities I have had to work with such an empowering organization.”

Why have you chosen to give to SSP?

Andrew: “SSP has changed my life for the better. I believe strongly in the mission of SSP and want more people to be able to participate. I have been fortunate to participate with SSP as a volunteer, a youth board member, and on summer staff. Each of these roles have helped me to learn and grow as a person, and I am greatly thankful for the opportunities I have had to work with such an empowering organization.”

 

Editor’s Note: Andrew is one of several recent 12xSSP donors we want to highlight this month. You also can donate monthly to SSP like Andrew, and guess what: there’s no minimum amount required! Your gift will help sustain stories like hers for other youth and young adults who participate in the program, paving the way for a transformed and more loving future. Become a 12xSSP donor today.

12xSSP Spotlight: Hilary Smith

Hilary Smith
Former Youth from Lafayette UMC
Summer Staff Alumnus
12xSSP Donor

What have you gained from your SSP experiences?

Hilary: “Besides the wonderful memories with the unique folks I met each summer, the most important things I’ve learned from SSP are empathy and project management. I cannot tell you how valuable co-running a kitchen was for my professional and personal development! Gaining the confidence and understanding of how a team works, while managing a bunch of goofy high schoolers running around with cleaning products and spatulas, is definitely something that will always be part of my internal fabric. Youth are amazing! When you hear so many different stories from SSPers from just spending time together, it really gets you to step outside of yourself and experience those feelings with them. SSP really allows you to ‘take a walk in someone else’s shoes.’

“I cannot tell you how valuable co-running a kitchen was for my professional and personal development!”

What are you doing now?

Hilary: “Nowadays I live in Manhattan, New York, and work in promotional marketing as an importer/exporter. I’m the one who manages getting the goods from the manufacturer to your hands! I also have a food blog in my spare time, which I’m sure stems from my summer on staff at SSP as a cook.”

“People from all walks of life touch this organization and will impact you.”

Why have you chosen to give to SSP?

Hilary: “SSP is part of my soul. Each and every day I give thanks to the empowerment and humility I felt while working and attending. One can only feel so blessed to get to experience the connections you make, especially as diverse as those who are involved with SSP. From the homeowners, to the youth, to the adult counselors, to the staff, to the greater community, people from all walks of life touch this organization and will impact you.

 

Editor’s Note: Hilary is one of several recent 12xSSP donors we want to highlight this month. You also can donate monthly to SSP like Hilary, and guess what: there’s no minimum amount required! Your gift will help sustain stories like hers for other youth and young adults who participate in the program, paving the way for a transformed and more loving future. Become a 12xSSP donor today.

12xSSP Spotlight: Ryan Cernik

Ryan Cernik
Former Youth Volunteer with Loomis First UMC
2017 Site Director in Chiloquin, OR
12xSSP Donor

What have you gained from your SSP experiences?

Ryan: “SSP has empowered me to make better choices in my everyday life. The world needs more love, and SSP creates a foundation for that love to flow. SSP helps transform the action of love into a habit; a habit that can bring out the brightest of colors from the saddest of hearts. SSP not only creates an environment of love, but also of truth. The freedom of taking off one’s mask and truly being vulnerable has helped me make deeper connections with people from every walk of life. SSP is the only place where I’ve truly felt whole. Everyone becomes family, and we all need someone to lean on.”

“The freedom of taking off one’s mask and truly being vulnerable has helped me make deeper connections with people from every walk of life.”

What are you doing now?

Ryan: “I’m currently in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I am nearly finished with a Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. However, what has really changed my life has been my minor in Religious Studies. SSP spurred my intrigue in the religions across the globe and has pushed me to continue my quest for knowledge pertaining to all cultures and beliefs. SSP may be grounded in Christianity, but it is run through the religion of love; a religion that anyone can share if they give it a chance.”

“SSP enhances the lives of those involved, and gives to those in need. What’s better than that?”

Why have you chosen to give to SSP?

Ryan: “I have chosen to give to SSP because it is the best thing to give to. One could spend their money on excess food, designer clothes, and meaningless trinkets, but at the end of the day who does that help? SSP enhances the lives of those involved, and gives to those in need. What’s better than that?”

 

Editor’s Note: Ryan is one of several recent 12xSSP donors we want to highlight this month. You also can donate monthly to SSP like Ryan, and guess what: there’s no minimum amount required! Your gift will help sustain stories like hers for other youth and young adults who participate in the program, paving the way for a transformed and more loving future. Become a 12xSSP donor today.

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