Written by: Anlan Cheney

Oklahoma Wesleyan University aims to impact culture with the Lordship of Jesus Christ and believes that in order to impact culture as a whole, it must begin on a local level. Students are invited to connect with the community and serve its members in many different ways. Currently, students have sought to connect with the community through an organization called Restore.

Restore is a student led service organization in which students are mobilized to help meet needs in the Bartlesville community in the name of Christ, spreading His love and a message of hope. Seniors Karis Cherry and Jonathan Goss currently lead the group, a total of 70 students, with 20 to 30 students participating in each project. Goss calls the experience “incredibly humbling and encouraging.”

Over the past three semesters, Restore has hosted a nursing home “Senior Prom,” volunteered at Bluestem Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center for children with disabilities, and partnered with a local Friday night program for at-risk junior high and high school students called Refuge.

In fall 2013, Restore worked exclusively with local pastor Ken Peace and the Refuge program. Restore cleaned and provided child care at area Refuge thrift shops and organized a Fall Festival for Refuge students that included face painting, flag football, inflatables, and nail painting, giving OKWU volunteers the opportunity to connect and pour into the students they served.

Through their partnership with Refuge, Restore was also introduced to the needs of two pregnant teens. The mothers came from local low-income families in need of basic items like diapers, vitamins, and baby clothes. “Without glamorizing teen pregnancy, we wanted to raise money in order to meet as many of those needs as possible”, said Goss.

Restore coordinated with Altar, the student-led Sunday evening OKWU worship service, to host a special service and silent auction at Jude’s Health and Java House in Bartlesville. The coffee shop’s owner, Ron Trumble, agreed to donate 100% of their night’s coffee sales towards the project. “We were absolutely blown away by the generosity of those who devoted their time and money to help these girls,” said Goss.

Restore’s mission is to become aware of needs in the community and to equip students with a platform and connections from which to meet those needs. “We’re always open to new ideas and to being made aware of needs in the Bartlesville community,” said Goss, while Cherry added that Restore has found “prayer and connecting in the least expected places, like coffee shops” as a main source of service opportunities.

For more information on how to become involved in Restore or how to donate towards its various service projects, contact Ben Rotz at brotz@okwu.edu.

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