We’ve had the opportunity this summer to help host the Summer Work Outreach Project, a work and life-skills program for youth 11-14 years old. SWOP grew out of Messiah Lutheran Church and is now an independent nonprofit organization with work sites in Mountain Iron, Buhl, and Chisholm. The board has been hoping to establish a site in Virginia, and they developed a way to use this as a “bridge year” when we can work with the Mountain Iron site to get things going in Virginia.

The 12 youth in the Mountain Iron/Virginia site have been based in our building for the last two weeks of June, and Nathan has been privileged to meet with the youth when they gather for work in the morning. They tackle challenging life skills such as making introductions, disagreeing appropriately, and showing sensitivity to others. They even practiced their interviewing skills on some members of our congregation (and thanks for your help!). It’s remarkable to watch kids grow and mature when we give them the opportunity to try out new responsibilities.