Campus Ministry leader Jessica Mayo helps young people explore the deeper questions
Creative community building happens in a multitude of ways in North Central Washington. I recently became acquainted with Jessica Mayo, who helps leads Connect, a Chi Alpha Campus Ministry on the Wenatchee Valley College campus. Mayo and her colleagues are providing an opportunity for students to engage with the larger questions of life while they are at the community college.
When Mayo came to Wenatchee as the program got going last year, she anticipated it would be a brief visit, but she fell in love with the community and has committed to at least five years to build the program. “Wenatchee felt like home,” she said.
There is a strong collaborative Christian ethos in the valley, she said, that is epitomized by the Serve Wenatchee Valley effort that brings a variety of churches together to serve the community. She sees that as a strength of the valley.
Many of the students she comes into contact are trying to sort out their own beliefs and how they can make meaningful contributions to the world, she told me. At times, students will want Mayo to give “the answer” to these questions. She has found that it is more helpful to the students in the long term if they wrestle with the issues themselves rather listening to someone else’s answer.
She sees the church “not as a place for people to come to but as a part of the community where work is done.” I appreciate that sense of faith as a sense of service.
In her work, Mayo will often connect students from different backgrounds who are posing similar questions and encourage them to have conversations and explore the issues. Her role is one of creative engagement.
Mentoring is one of the most powerful tools in a community and Mayo and her colleagues providing an access point for WVC students who are curious about living a fulfilling life. Mentoring is a critical need with young people these days when families are fragmented and economic pressures force parents to work multiple jobs and long hours. When kids know that an adult cares and that they are loved and valued, it can make all the difference in the world in their development as human beings.
Connect meets Thursday evenings, 7 p.m., at Van Tassell Center on campus, as well as Bible studies that throughout the week.
“We are also working towards having a more regular partnership with services in our community like the Lighthouse Mission and Serve Wenatchee,” Mayo told me. “We’ve done service projects with each of those organizations before and definitely want to continue that. Our ministry is one that wants to be outward-focused and community-centered.”
We are fortunate to have thoughtful, talented young leaders like Jessica Mayo in our community helping young people find their way in the world. Mayo can be reached at [email protected].