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Krista Foundation celebrates 10th year, honors young adults

Sinead Voorhees
Sinead Voorhees

At the 10th anniversary fundraising breakfast and celebration of Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, Sinead Voorhees of Whitworth University’s School of Global Commerce and Management will be among speakers addressing how local communities benefit when young adults volunteer abroad in developing nations or in America’s urban centers.

“Home Grown Leaders” is the theme of the event from 7:30 to 9 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8, in downtown Spokane.  Funds will help support young adult leaders who volunteer for a year or more as an expression of their faith and values.

“With all of the needs in our local communities, people often ask us what are the reasons for going elsewhere,” said Linda Lawrence Hunt, co-founder of the Krista Foundation that began as a legacy in honor of her 25-year-old daughter who was killed while volunteering with her husband in Bolivia.  ”Actually, some Krista Colleagues do volunteer in their local communities or return with new skills to share locally.”

Each year, universities nominate leaders who serve with existing agencies, such as AmeriCorps, Jesuit Volunteers, Presbyterian Year in Mission, Earth Ministries, Peace Corps and others.  

The program began with nine Krista Colleagues in 1999.  There are now more than 260 who have served in 41 U.S. urban centers and 45 nations. The Krista Foundation provides an ecumenical faith community, intergenerational mentors, conferences, debriefing retreats, intercultural and ethics training before, during and after their service.

“In an interconnected world, we need emerging leaders with skills to navigate in a global context, and within our increasingly polarized nation,” said Linda.  

One example is Sinead, a Gonzaga University graduate who served with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia in a program for former sex workers and in HIV/AIDS education. She needed to be medically evacuated with a life threatening illness, and returned to Spokane for a long emotional and physical recovery.  

“The Krista Foundation community was essential during this difficult time,” said Sinead.  “I needed to talk with persons who cared and understood my desire to serve and encourage my future goals.  Unfortunately, most of my peers didn’t want to hear about my growth in the Peace Corps.”

Determined to continue her international commitments, she entered a graduate program in international development at Trinity University in Ireland.  Back in Spokane, her experiences led to her work at Whitworth University, placing student interns in Spokane businesses, including those in international commerce.  

“Our city benefits from insights she gained abroad,” said Linda, adding that Sinead was recently selected by Catalyst Magazine as one of the “Top 20 under 40 Leaders” in the Inland Northwest.

After traveling in more than 30 countries and four continents, Sinead decided to settle in Spokane.  Now on the Krista Foundation Board of Directors, she is one of three breakfast speakers.

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Copyright © September 2014 - The Fig Tree