Hope in the City
Ministry and scholarship give at-risk East Vancouver youth a new beginning
In what some might consider a very ordinary house in East Vancouver, something extraordinary is happening. TWU alumna, Jenny Shantz (’99) and fourth-year student Carla Dickinson are making a difference in the lives of marginalized youth through their ministry, Inner Hope Youth Ministries.
Founded in 2007, Inner Hope exists to help East Vancouver youth develop into healthy, independent people who positively contribute to their community. Up to five youth at a time live in “the House”— as it is affectionately called — with house parents, Shantz and Dickinson. The two provide a stable environment and a place to belong for kids struggling to break free from the cycles of addiction and social dependency. “Every community around the world has needs and opportunities,” says Shantz. “In Canada, safe, supportive housing is one of the greatest needs for marginalized people — particularly youth.”
Inner Hope isn’t the pair’s first foray into ministry. In 1996, Shantz — who developed a heart for East Vancouver youth while on staff at Camp Qwanoes — established Youth Extreme, a partnership with New Beginnings Church. That first year saw 10 TWU students volunteer, including Dickinson, who has worked with Shantz ever since.
As students, the friends spent weekdays on campus, and weekends in East Vancouver ministering to kids who had little or no opportunity to attend any university — let alone a private Christian one. “I dreamt of having our youth attend TWU,” Shantz says. “Many of them looked at their Trinity Western youth leaders as role models.”
By January 1997, Shantz and her Youth Extreme friends organized a fundraiser for an endowed scholarship. They held “twoonie chapels” where students were encouraged to bring a twoonie to donate to the scholarship, and one generous donor contributed $10,000. “By the end of the year we raised almost $20,000,” she says. “The Karis-Sharon Kaye Scholarship was developed by TWU students.”
“In Canada, safe, supportive housing is one of the greatest needs for marginalized people—particularly youth.”
The TWU-Youth Extreme connection has remained strong — 30 to 40 students still volunteer each year and Shantz’s dream of East Vancouver youth attending TWU has been realized: four Youth Extreme alumni have attended — three of whom received the Karis-Sharon Kaye Memorial Scholarship, including current fourth-year student, Mark Ang.
From youth group, to scholarship, to full-time ministry, the TWU community has been an integral part of Shantz and Dickinson’s journey. “It was Youth Extreme and TWU volunteers who led Bible studies in our home, provided respite for us, and brain-stormed with us from the very start,” says Dickinson. Key Inner Hope volunteers and part-time staff include Andrea Lambert (’09), Alison Fraser (’09), Bjørn Bulthuis (’08), Jenny (Christensen) Bulthuis (’07), Janine Kelley (’06), Ryan Hanawalt (’02), founding board member Katherine Adamson (’02), and current students, Emily Baum and Ashley Crozier.
While Shantz and Dickinson recognize there are many worthy ministry opportunities abroad, they encourage people to consider the mission fields in their own communities. “Each one of us has the capacity for God to work through us,” Shantz says. “We just need to ask Him to open the doors and guide us to places where He is already at work.”
Support the Karis-Sharon Kaye Scholarship by visiting TWU Impact.
by Wendy Delamont Lees
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