Project Transformation is a lot of things


By Rev. Rachel Neer 

Time and time again I am asked to attend church meetings, school groups, and community events to share about Project Transformation.  People are fascinated by the different pieces of the program and everyone, from kids to retired seniors, wants to know how they can be a part of the program.

It has taken some time for us to define who we are in this part of the country, but I think we have finally figured it out.  Aside from all of the practical pieces of the program, which you can see in the video above, we are these things:

  • We are safe spaces.  We are spaces where community members can enter and not feel judged.  Children, parents, volunteers, and young adults alike can ask our churches for aid, support, and laughter – they will get it with us.  We are spaces where breakdowns can happen, life can spin out of control, and uncertainty can make you feel uneasy and we will keep loving you back to who you can be anyway.
  • We are brave spaces.  We are spaces where children can learn how to speak in front of others, where mistakes can be made, and where accidents can happen.  We are spaces that do not shame actions and we do not believe in failure.  We do believe in trying again, learning together, and finding better ways to react to the world around us.
  • We are trauma-informed.  We know that trauma affects the body long after the initial event and that it impacts each individual differently.  We work with religious trauma, psychological trauma, physical trauma, and many other adverse experiences that our communities have experienced.  We allow spaces for the trauma to speak – and then we find ways to live with it so that we can be our best selves.  Even Project Transformation staff have identified their own traumas and work to confront that trauma in healthy ways so that they can better serve the greater community.

Much more than all of these things, we are a community living in mutual relationship with one another.  We are an organization that fosters dialogue, connection, healing, and creativity through our vast network of supporters.  We have been able to help families find much-needed furniture, parents access resources they did not know about before, churches connect with other churches to gather assets needed for ministry, and much more.

I have been in the role of Executive Director for almost two years now.  In those two years, I have seen love, growth, and transformation bloom.  I have seen the beautiful dance of Church and Community.  I have seen the life that can be restored when persons are loved for the fullness of who they are.  I have seen the joy that returns to children when someone cares deeply about them.  I have seen the passion in the eyes of young adults when they realize that they, too, can change a life.  I have seen who we are.

The Project Transformation Theory of Change is that transformation happens through relationships.  May we continue to draw our circles wide, embracing the Other, the scared, the scarred, and the unruly, until we become the Beloved Community.

Rachel Neer serves as Executive Director for Project Transformation: Pacific Northwest engaging young adults in purposeful leadership and ministry, supporting children in holistic development, and connecting churches with communities. Click here to learn more.