“City Serve 2017” brought 100 Life Pacific College students and staff to organizations around the City of San Dimas, living out a long-held value of service to our neighbors.
By: Rod Light
One hundred Life Pacific College (soon to be University) students and staff descended on the City of San Dimas on Saturday, August 26, boldly taking a stand for what they believe. While pockets of political unrest and cultural conflicts dominate national news, these students and staff enthusiastically put their backs into service projects around the city, helping make a difference for several local organizations during Life Pacific College’s “City Serve 2017.”
Students donned gloves and facemasks apparently with no concern for how dirty they might get as they served throughout the city. A student team that met at McKinley Children’s Center spent the day putting order to a 3,000 square foot storage barn that hadn’t been cleaned out in 20 years.
Another team of 14 students offered their services at the San Dimas Recreation Center for a combined total of 45 hours of volunteer service. “The students were great to work with and had no problem getting their hands dirty,” said Terry Snow, Pool Operator for the Center, who oversaw the work of the students. “They brought a lot of energy.”
Other students, led by LPC Campus Chaplain Amanda Hansen, M.Div., gathered at Arma Shull Elementary School, serving at the direction of PTA Coordinator Kim Harp. Students organized the teacher’s lounge and supply closet, and assisted the school librarian with organization and cleaning. “We were thrilled to support the teachers and staff of Arma Shull in this way as they prepare to begin their own new school year,” Chaplain Hansen said.
City Serve 2017 is an annual service project undertaken by Life Pacific College during Welcome Week. Campus leaders orient new students and remind returning students each fall of the college’s longstanding commitment to contribute to the good of the city and a campus-wide value of building positive relationships with our neighbors. “We want students to jump right into living the mission and vision of LPC when they arrive on campus,” Chaplain Hansen added.
Serving God by serving our city is nothing new for Life Pacific College. Founded at Echo Park in downtown Los Angeles, the college was established by 1920’s evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson to prepare men and women from all walks of life to understand the Bible and share the gospel of Jesus Christ in the marketplace and around the world.
McPherson was noted for her Angelus Temple Commissary, a ministry started in 1927 that rivaled any government or social service program of its kind, providing food to 1.5 million people during the Great Depression.
Ninety years later, A.J. Zimmermann, M.Div., LPC Director of Calling and Vocation, believes City Serve 2017 helps students today focus on the practical application of having a servant’s heart, the same value that drove our founder. A.J. points to Bible verses like Romans 15:2 as a foundation for this belief: “Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’” (Rom. 15:2, The Message).
Life Pacific President Jim J. Adams, Ed.D. affirms the importance of service to our city and neighbors and believes the partnership between the city and Life Pacific will grow stronger in the future as the college officially becomes a university in 2019, a first for the City of San Dimas.
“The City of San Dimas is very grateful and appreciates the outreach from Life Pacific and the willingness of the students to give back to their community,” said Recreation Manager Leon Raya. “We’re hoping to continue to build our partnership with Life Pacific so that the Recreation Center is an important resource for the students and they continue to be an important resource for us.”
Campus organizers wish to thank local community leaders for their partnership in making Life Pacific College City Serve 2017 a success: Rhonda Beltran, McKinley Children’s Center; Leon Raya, San Dimas Recreation Center; Rita Kear, San Dimas High School; Jason Coss, Lone Hill Middle School; Kim Harp, Shull Elementary School; Jaime Skinner, Ekstrand Elementary School; Kimmie Umschied, Thaddeus Foundation; Chris MacKenzie, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department; and community leaders Casey Cos and Alta Skinner.