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Response to letter about Coffee Oasis
I was stunned to read Jackson Pedersen’s Letter to the Editor (“Concerned about religious approach,” page A4, June 1 Herald).
What causes someone to be so antagonistic to an organization he obviously knows nothing about, has impacted so many youth and received such community acclaim?
I am sorry for wrong perpetrated in the name of “religion,” but that does not negate the positive impact churches and faith-based organizations have in our community.
Where are the youth we harmed? Did he speak with Jason or Rocky or Curtis or Courtney or the hundreds of youth whose lives have been impacted by Coffee Oasis? If he searched hard enough he could find a disgruntled youth who dislikes something we did, but I guarantee that for every disgruntled youth, he would find 100+ who express real gratitude.
Why? Because our passion is to reach out to street and homeless youth without regard to religious beliefs, race, color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, to help them experience real life change. This statement appears in our publications and accurately represents to whom we offer all of our services with no strings attached.
We don’t do this in a vacuum. We partner with many organizations, faith-based and non-faith based. We are members of the Continuum of Care Coalition, Workforce Development Council, Kitsap Mentoring Consortium and Housing Solutions Center.
Our staff might not have the education that’s so important to Mr. Pederson, but they have been where street and homeless youth have been, experienced dramatic life change and are passionate about helping other youth experience the same.
He asks people to speak out. They have. We were presented this week by the Kitsap County Association of Realtors its Quality of Life award for our impact on homeless youth. Last month, we received United Way’s Community Impact award. The list goes on.
We aren’t a “cult” as he insinuates, but an organization that takes seriously honoring God by helping youth get jobs, reconcile with their families, finish school, get their GED, deal with their addictions, and get off the streets and out of homelessness. Is that so bad?
Director, Coffee Oasis