Enoch Yeung - Friendship, Not Partnership
Friendship, Not Partnership
Christians have the opportunity to help cultivate a community inside and outside of the local school. Community building is important because it provides an infrastructure for the families to be supported. Building community and long lasting genuine friendships, though, seems almost to be a lost art. To this void, volunteers and churches can bring the ability to cultivate natural friendships. Building relationships is something that is harder than running a program because it is more organic and takes more time. It is vital for Christians and volunteers alike to switch our mentality of serving to a mentality of relationship building. The key difference is moving from planned activities and program to personal connection and friendship.
I understand that schools may not openly welcome religion; yet, our actions of love and service are more than welcomed. The main key in this is to come into the school context without any agenda except to love. Through love and action, it builds the positive relationship that will open the door to the message – often outside the context of the school itself. This is why it becomes vital to engage relationships with people in the neighborhoods outside the school. One example would be something my wife and I do intentionally which is having dinner with the families at the school. By having people or families from the school come over for dinner, it builds a chord of trust that is not connected to the school itself but to the life on life interactions that produce true and valuable friendships.
In this process of developing relationship, we need to evaluate and be sensitive about the right timing of when people would be open to receive or listen to what we are sharing. It is also important to remember that it is best to make the choices that empower the parent(s) of the child. For example, my wife and I choose not to intentionally talk to the children in the school about the gospel without the permission from the parent. The parent has been placed in charge over that child and it is a sign of respect to the parent that we do so. Keeping this in mind, we can work over time inside and outside the school to touch the whole family and engage the lives of both the parents and the child. But, to do this, it has to start with hello, a smile and a true commitment to not just provide services, but be a friend.
Who is Enoch Yeung?
Enoch Yeung is the Board President / Executive Director of New Hope Community Development Corporation which currently serves 2 school sites, William Land Elementary School in Downtown and Sol Aureus in the Pocket Neighborhood in South Sacramento. Enoch works for the State of California underwriting financial packages for affordable housing development as a loan specialist for CALHFA.
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