Bringing a 'Passion' community service

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published:

Streetsboro -- An organization has come along which should help hold all the other community groups together and facilitate existing events and efforts.

Passion4Streetsboro Founder Jeff Schofield, the pastor at Hope Community Church in Hudson, said the club is interested in fostering connections among existing community organizations and facilitating activities of other groups.

He led a community meeting March 14 to orient residents with Passion4Streetsboro at Stringz & Wingz.

"Our desire is to be a catalyst for generosity, primarily through networking with other organizations," he said.

Mayor Glenn Broska said he's happy to have another group to help meet the community's needs.

"I think it's a great idea to do something like this," he said.

Carmen Laudato, a resident who's involved in a variety of activities in the area, said she also welcomes the new group.

"The more the merrier," she said at the meeting.

Schofield said he and about a half dozen others have been working during the past year to make contacts behind the scenes with other community service organizations, the city government and the schools.

"We're kind of building a network of contact information for people we can call on to help us in various ways," he said, adding that network includes 40 to 50 names at this point.

Schofield said he and others who formed Passion4Streetsboro considered starting the church's "Passion 4 Community" program in Hudson, Streetsboro, Aurora and Twinsburg.

"We have a lot of people living in Streetsboro at our church, and Streetsboro is the area where we can probably have the most impact," he said. "Down the road, we could multiply into other communities; we'll see how things take off here in Streetsboro."

While the organization grew out of the church, he said the church isn't a focus of the group; the focus is Streetsboro's needs.

To learn more about the community's needs, the organization has been conducting an online survey in which people could list their community's greatest assets, greatest challenges, most important areas to improve and the areas they'd be most interested in volunteering in.

Schofield said Passion4Streetsboro helped organize volunteers for the city's Park Clean Up Day last May, which included between 80 and 100 volunteers.

The group also helped with a school supply drive last year in partnership with about a half dozen Streetsboro businesses and communicated with Community Christmas organizer Pam Danner about working together.

"There are a lot of great things happening in the city of Streetsboro," said Schofield. "Our desire isn't to replace that but to network with all the great things that are happening."

While Passion4Streetsboro has a general goal of helping other organizations with community service projects, the organization does have some specific areas it wants to target, according to a handout from the March 21 meeting:

• Helping out on events that educate people for growth, such as parenting seminars, money management workshops and leadership development opportunities;

• Connecting people and community organizations because "healthy communities need wholesome activities and recreational outlets that draw people together;" and

• Supporting individuals in crisis because "the wounds and struggles of every individual impact families." The organization plans to help individuals and families in need.

Broska said Streetsboro -- and every community -- can use more of the type service Passion4Streetsboro aims to provide.

"For as much as the government tries to keep God out of our lives, we need to try to put Him back in again," he said.

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