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Trinity Presbyterian Church Shapes Urban Leaders

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The Northwest Leadership Foundation believes that it is through collaboration that our cities become better; there is no better example than our partnership with Trinity Presbyterian Church. Going back more than 16, Trinity’s continued partnership with NLF’s Urban Leaders in Training initiative (ULT) stand strong today.

Trinity Presbyterian Church seeks God’s calling in the Hilltop neighborhood and broader Tacoma community, while initiating and cultivating transformational relationships that model hope through education, relief, and community development. Their mission is to live the Gospel in the heart of Tacoma, and, through Jesus Christ, to bring hope, health, and compassion to all they encounter. Trinity lives out its mission not only in the church, but through its outreach programming.

Currently, we have three ULT members placed at Trinity: Daniel Akamine, Hayley Uliana and Laura Johnson. These ULT members serve in two educational programs of Trinity Presbyterian Church, implementing enrichment activities for youth living in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. Daniel, Hayley and Laura participate in many roles within the Trinity/Bobcat Learning Center and the Trinity Afterschool Program, which extends beyond homework help. Further, they assist in classrooms, at Jason Lee Middle School and Bryan Montessori, linking students’ in-class work with afterschool programming.

Rod Nash, Director of Outreach, and Jaquette Easterlin, Learning Center Coordinator supervise our ULT members at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Both Rod and Jaquette have served in Tacoma themselves for many years. Throughout their time affiliated with Trinity Presbyterian Church, both leads have truly witnessed the growth of ULT members through its affiliate.

“Unlike other service opportunities and internships, Urban Leaders in Training is designed to cultivate leaders though servant leadership.”  This experience shapes future options, says Rod.

Rod describes how ULT gives leaders a “Petri dish” to sift through what they like and do not like in the workforce. The opportunity that the year to two-year service provides ULT members with is embedded in the experience that is gained through being a community servant. During this time with Trinity, leaders are either motivated to continue to serve youth and the community or take this unique experience in pursuit of their vocational destination in elsewhere.

Jaquette is a sterling example of the kind of change and growth we seek to bring about in our ULT members. Having grown up in the neighborhood, Jaquette worked hard in school and earned an Act Six scholarship to receive a fully funded college education at Whitworth University. Having earned her degree, she saw Urban Leaders in Training as the next step in her own person growth and leadership development:

“I was able to reconnect with my community and hone in on my passion.”

Youth and education were not always at the forefront of Jaquette’s career interests, but after being a ULT member, she decided this type of service is how she wanted to be an agent of change in Tacoma. Now, she and Rod help developing leaders find their place in the greater scheme of things in this city.

“People can really be shaped in this work, and I think Trinity is a great place to do it,” Rod said.

We here at NLF agree. Thank you for partnering with us for so many years, Trinity! You have played an incredible and growing role in shaping some of Tacoma’s finest leaders.

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