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Cindy Chow-Snavely

Cindy Chow-Snavely

Board Member, Church of the Good Shepherd, Arcadia, CA

I didn’t understand the pull of SSP for my husband and teenage kids. Port-A-Potties, occasional showers, PB&J sandwiches (EVERY DAY!), sunburns, sleeping bag accommodations, bumps and bruises, tarred and paint-stained clothing, disheveled exhaustion, and ravenous appetites upon return. Oh, and they had to pay to participate.

And then I went. And I experienced it for myself.

“I didn’t understand the pull of SSP for my husband and teenage kids…and then I went. And I experienced it for myself.”

Teenagers learning how to use power tools. Buddies supporting each other with ladders. Youth taping, priming, and painting interior and exterior walls. Teams building wheelchair ramps. Roofs being repaired. Poverty-stricken families who cry with appreciation after seeing their homes being renovated. Disabled veterans donating pizza lunches in thankfulness to work teams, with what little money they have. Shy teens encouraged by others to sing, dance, and share their opinions. Confident teens allowing themselves to become vulnerable. An open community that welcomes the unique characteristics of all. A supportive community that allows the special gifts of so many to blossom and be celebrated. A teaching community, providing so much good work to others, physically, emotionally, and faithfully.

“As an adult counselor, I get to see youth suddenly gain confidence in their abilities…those moments are priceless.”

From Loleta, CA to support the Wiyot tribe, to Imperial Beach, CA to help neighborhoods in need, my SSP experiences have been personally eye-opening. SSP introduces participants to different people, ideas, and places.  We learn about power saws, paint prep, building techniques, and safety practices. I’m still nervous about being entrusted with construction work, but thankfully, SSP groups work together to learn and perfect the technical aspects of projects. As an adult counselor, I get to see youth suddenly gain confidence in their abilities to accomplish new skills and work as a team. Those moments are priceless.

Each time I participate in a week of SSP or in a Board meeting, I feel inspired to grow in my faith, my own personal development, and become more patient, open, and accepting. I’m also reminded how God has blessed my life – indoor plumbing, a comfortable home, a wonderful family, a great job, and so many other worldly things…including PB&J sandwiches.

“Thank you, SSP, for helping me to put my faith into action.”

In turn, it’s important to me to show appreciation for what God has blessed me with, by helping make the world a better place. Thank you, SSP, for helping me to put my faith into action. I feel I’m helping to change lives for the better – the lives of others, as well as my own.

Editor’s Note: Cindy is one of our new Board members in 2019. She and her husband Kevin are members of Church of the Good Shepherd, a long-time SSP participating group. Her son and daughter were SSP youth volunteers for five years each! To see why SSP is such a transformative experience for adults like Cindy, volunteer with us during the summer of 2020 at one of our five locations.