Below read a message from the justice sphere pastor at Jacob’s Well, Isaac Anderson.
This is a difficult note to write. Over the last year, Jacob’s Well volunteers and many others have had the joy of spending time with kids at Rosedale Ridge through the after-school program at the Center. We’ve become friends with these kids and their families. We’ve goofed around with them and counseled them through difficulty. We’ve taken field trips to the art museum and the pool. We’ve learned together about foreign places, and about the love of God for each person. We’ve gardened and grilled out. And while the activities have been fun, I know the real reward, for so many of us, has been the experience of making a personal connection with specific kids who light up when they see their mentor walk in the room, and then finding ourselves changed for the better by those interactions. Each of the Rosedale kids are so obviously worthy of all the time and attention we’ve invested in them, and we’ll be talking over the coming weeks about how we might maintain a connection with these kids moving forward.
But first we wanted to take a moment to inform you of the latest developments at Rosedale, given that they will have major implications for the work we’ve been doing there. As some of you may recall, last September the Yarco company—the company responsible for managing RR and with whom JW had contracted to provide after-school programming—came under heavy fire for not keeping the Rosedale apartments up to code. The media got involved, and there was a protracted battle between the KCK inspectors and Yarco, then between Yarco and the property owners—a largely absentee ownership group located in Florida—not to mention Yarco and the larger Rosedale community, concerning who was to blame for the neglect of the property, and exactly how the manifold code violations would be addressed. Long story short, after much communication between all parties, it’s been determined that all current residents at RR will be provided with Section 8 vouchers and relocated to other housing facilities in KC, beginning as early as the first week of May and concluding by June 29th. Which housing facilities will become home for these families is still TBD, but it appears that current residents will be gone by the end of summer.
This means, very regrettably, that the after-school program will be drawing to a close as well. We do hope to stay connected to some of our current RR kids, even as their families relocate. For instance, we’ll be following up with JW volunteers–in conversation and via email–about the possibility of creating a kind of big-brother/ big-sister network that would allow continued relationship with these kids over the coming months. But, sadly, the Center as we’ve known it will be coming to an end.
Given this reality, our leadership team has shifted our focus toward two goals. The first is that we, together with you our volunteers, would do everything we can to say a “good goodbye”–to wrap up programming at the Center in a way that celebrates all God has done, and allows for a sense of closure related to that part of our ministry. Part of saying a good goodbye involves communicating well about how we plan to conclude our programming at RR. To that end, Amy Streeter will be sending along a list of key dates for the next couple months. Be looking for it–we’d love for as many of us to participate as possible.
Our second goal is to prayerfully consider where God might be directing us next. Lindsey and I and many other leaders involved at JW continue to feel a sense of commitment to these RR kids specifically, so we hope we’ll be able to keep loving them and advocating for them in some capacity. We invite you to continue praying for these kids by name, as you think of them. We’d also be grateful if you would pray with us for wisdom related to how we think about this transition, and related to where we, as a church community, might direct our energies next. We know we serve a God who makes paths in the desert, and we believe God is at work in this situation, as he is in the lives of our friends at Rosedale, as he is in all of us.
Thank you to each of you for your time and energy and patience, your generosity and your consistency in the lives of families at Rosedale Ridge this past year. I am honored to serve with you all. We’ll keep you posted on any major developments.
In the meantime, be looking for emails from Amy Streeter that include important scheduling info, as well as comments and encouragements from members of our RR leadership team.
Pastor, JW Justice Sphere