Of Home & Community
I discovered Rainier Avenue Church after a recent move from the other side of the country at a time when I was seeking familiarity, comfort and community. After spending some time there, I realized I had found a group of friendly, genuine and God-loving people; I had found a home. Since joining Rainier Avenue Church and volunteering as a tutor in the Learning Center during Urban Impact’s Community Night this past year, I imagine those who gather together as neighbors on Wednesday evenings experience a similar feeling.
Community Night is a time for relationships and fellowship. It is a time when we can slow our busy lives and share a meal, a lesson and a short time of life together. One amazing aspect of Community Night is it is a place for the entire family -- everyone is welcomed and included. For the scholars, that place specifically is in the Learning Center. It is a place of education, of respect and most importantly of love. The relationships I form with these scholars are incredibly special to me. I have no sufficient words to describe the feeling I get when Riley* begs me to stand by her during the singing of the motivational song, “Something Inside So Strong” or when Damian* dramatically improves in the math skills we work on each week. My investment in the children in our neighborhood comes from a belief that each scholar can succeed in their education and break a cycle of poverty through opportunity.
During my short time in the Learning Center, I have already seen a positive transformation in some of the scholars I have gotten to know over the weeks. Our space of stability, empowerment and safety provides an environment in which everyone can thrive. It is this feeling of true community that brings me back home.
*Name changed to protect privacy
Originally from Rocky Mount, NC, Nancy Thai is a resident of South Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood. She enjoys reading, soaking up the sun outdoors, photography, eating lots and lots of watermelon in the summer and adventuring. Nancy says she loves her neighborhood because “ It’s a small and cozy community that feels like home.”