mission statement | Cup of Cool Water’s mission is to empower street youth to become wholehearted followers of Christ and to exit street life.
history | Cup of Cool Water was founded by Mark Terrell. In the spring of 1995, Mark kept thinking about and praying for two homeless youth he met while he was a student at Whitworth College (now University). Soon, praying for the kids didn’t seem to be enough, and Mark knew that something more tangible had to be done. The idea came with the foundation of sharing the love and hope of Christ with street-involved youth through developing healthy relationships and providing services. The ministry started out of the back of his ’89 200SX, transitioned through partnerships with several churches, and moved into its own building in 2002.
philosophy of ministry | CCW’s strategy in ministry is: through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to build healthy relationships, provide services, and disciple street youth. As we do this, we strive to maintain the following priorities in those relationships and services:
Grace over Law
Relationship over Program
Empowering over Enabling
Long-Term Commitment over Short-Term
Community over Isolation
Equipping over Hindering
Acceptance over Discrimination
Unconditional Love over Rejection
evangelism | Cup of Cool Water practices sharing the love of Christ with youth through the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, building healthy relationships, providing services, and discipleship of youth. We believe that social action and directly speaking about Jesus are both evangelism and the two cannot be separated. We live life every day with the young people we serve and the primary tools of our work are ourselves, so they are firsthand witnesses to how prayer and the gospel govern our lives. Follow up is an integral part of evangelism at Cup of Cool Water. This is a time when staff and volunteers spend time with youth outside of the drop-in center, whether that is taking them to lunch or outdoor recreational activities. Visiting youth who are incarcerated is another critical aspect of follow-up, and staff take time weekly to visit youth.
Cool Water Bikes, a full-service, non-profit bicycle shop owned and operated by Cup of Cool Water, is used as a catalyst to build relationships with youth who are homeless. Riding, repairing, and selling bikes side by side, mentors and youth have the opportunity to experience the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
Youth begin to realize that they are loved, first by the staff as the staff show grace, patience, and unconditional love and speak life into the youth. Ultimately, staff are showing the youth God's love, and through that process youth begin to experience that they are loved by God. As staff do this, they also begin to experience God's love on a whole new level. Through this process, God is molding both youth and staff into the people he created them to be, and it happens as they experience healthy relationships with each other and with God. In the end, it is not about the staff doing anything to the youth, but rather about everyone walking through life as neighbors together.
Through the Cool Water Bike shop, youth can learn practical life skills and qualities like confidence, dedication, and respect and hear about the God who truly embodies those qualities and who promises to rescue them through His Son. The shop is a safe working environment where they can ask questions, have one-on-one conversations, and practice healthy relationships.
The social services provided by CCW can best be described by the Chinese proverb, "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime." However, this doesn't tell the whole story, Robert Lupton, a community developer out of Atlanta, adds two phases to this famous proverb: "Restocking the pond" and "buying the pond." With these modifications the proverb would now read something like, "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish you have fed him for a lifetime. When the pond no longer has any fish; get a grant to restock it. When tired of restocking someone else's pond; buy the pond."
In essence, what is being described is a process of providing social services. These services range from betterment (giving a fish) to development (owning the pond). Put another way, betterment looks at making a person's day better...just for that day. Maybe it's a pair of socks, a meal, a shower, laundry, etc. In other words, what are a person's basic needs for that day or moment? Development is the next step beyond basic needs, and asks the person, "What are the steps that need to be taken for you to become who Christ made you to be?" Maybe it is an education, job training, or a job. CCW calls the betterment to development process "learning to be neighbors." It represents a move away from social services being provided for or to unaccompanied youth. Rather, it is meant to describe the community at CCW, both youth and staff, walking through life together learning how to be neighbors with each other and the rest of the world.
outreach volunteer** | Exit the four walls of CCW's building and spend time with youth on their turf, primarily in the evenings. Share sack lunches and popsicles or hot cocoa with youth, and invite new youth to CCW. Approximately 3 hours per week.
drop-in volunteer** | Hang out with youth at CCW's drop-in center, either in the afternoons or for dinner. Aid youth in accessing services like laundry, showers, food, and clothing, play board games, or just have a conversation.
Approximately 4 hours per week.
redemptive development volunteer**
Work alongside youth in our bike shop, help with a workshop on cooking or other basic life skills, dialogue with youth during a Bible study, or propose a new idea for a skill youï¿½d like to teach. Time commitment varies.
cleaning volunteer | Help keep CCW's building a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment for the youth who come in. Time commitment varies.
administrative volunteer | Assist CCW staff with basic office tasks (no experience necessary). Time commitment varies.
meal team volunteer | Work with a team of people you know to plan, provide, prepare, and serve an evening meal at CCW. Approximately 3 hours per month.
prayer partner | Commit to pray regularly for one youth, whose real name will not be given but whose circumstances will be described to you. A staff member will send monthly updates about this youth to help guide your prayers.
** Volunteer training and age requirements apply
Volunteer Qualifications: Those who wish to work directly with the youth must sign our statement of faith, be at least 21 years of age, attend both days of volunteer training, complete a volunteer application and interview, and pass a federal background check. The cost of the background check is the responsibility of the applicant. Anyone with a felony conviction will be unable to work directly with our youth.
For those who would like to work directly with youth, Cup of Cool Water requires a two-day training session, available in May and September to help familiarize potential volunteers with our ministry and the population we serve. Training topics include:
To register for the next upcoming training, contact
Volunteer Coordinator, Drew Dotson