by Jennifer Willprecht Walczak
As some of you may know, Community Partners with Youth (CPY) is celebrating 25 YEARS of Service in the New Brighton community. Since 1997, Christ the King has graciously opened their doors to CPY and allowed 500 youth per year to enter and grow. What you may not know is that I am one of those youth.
I come to the CPY celebration from many different angles, all of them grateful for what CPY and CtK do in the community. My family has been at Christ the King since it opened, with my grandparents being some of the first members, my dad being one of the first confirmation classes, and all of his siblings being baptized and confirmed here. Once I came along, my parents knew that Christ the King was the right place for my baptism and faith education.
As a middle schooler and only child, my parents weren’t comfortable with me being home alone every day after school, but we also couldn’t really afford any of the fancy (read: expensive) after school programs the school was offering. We were a solidly blue collar family, making enough for our lot rent at the mobile home park and some dance lessons at the local studio, but not enough to do much else. CPY was a huge blessing to our family, allowing me a space to safely be a kid before going home to make dinner (my mom will admit she isn’t the best cook), do homework, and help around the house.
When I had my first born in college and I was approved for work study funds, I knew I needed something off campus, as I was technically a single mother (we got married when our son was almost 2 years old) and being on campus twice a week was all I could afford with parking, time off of my full time job, and daycare costs. Luckily for me, CPY was a work study site, and even luckier, 3 blocks away from my parents’ house where my little family of 3 was living. I was thrilled when I got the job.
I have since graduated from the University of Minnesota, bought the house next door to my parents, and added 2 more kids to my family, all 3 of whom roam the halls of Christ the King 6 days a week between my work as a Program Director at CPY, and worship on Sundays.
My story is just one of many that list not only Community Partners with Youth, but also Christ the King as a huge blessing in their life. I am not only proud to be a CtK congregant, but also a CPY alumni and staff.
On behalf of all the CPY youth, staff, and alumni, I would personally like to invite everyone to the Community Partners with Youth 25th Birthday Bash next Saturday, September 10, 2022 to hear more stories like mine, enjoy some delicious food from great food trucks, learn more about the ways CPY has impacted the community, and just celebrate what YOU have made possible over the last 25 years.