Lindsey (Claar) Smith C’04
When Lindsey transferred to North Park, she was about to begin her junior year at another school. “I was receiving an excellent education, but it didn’t feel like the right fit,” Lindsey said, “and my heart wanted to pursue ministry.” When she received word that she would still be able to graduate on time at North Park, she enrolled, and began her youth ministry coursework. “I came alive in those classes,” she said, “and I met people and had opportunities that have literally changed my life—and the lives of youth.”
While at North Park, “both through my classes and my internship experience, I learned countless tangible and intangible skills that I use every day,” Lindsay said. She interned with TreeHouse, a faith-based organization that works with teens, and was so inspired by her time there that she partnered with them to found her own nonprofit organization, Heart Haven OutReach, or H20, in suburban Chicago.
“We incorporated in March 2004, two months before I graduated,” Lindsey said. “In January 2005, we launched our first programs in Bolingbrook. Since then we have served well over 1,000 teens in need.” While she has since moved to California to serve in full-time ministry at theMovement church, H20 continues to thrive, with programming that includes support groups, mentoring, recreational activities, service projects, and life skills education.
“I felt called to North Park,” Lindsey said. “I believe God had in mind for me to start H20, and had it not been for my internship, it may never have happened.”
Evan Kolding C’06
As a high school student, Evan was drawn to North Park for its urban location, but soon found it offered much more than city living. “When I was a freshman, I loved the idea of spending four years in Chicago,” he said, “but what kept me at North Park was their dedication to serving the city and intentionally utilizing it as the backdrop for my educational and life experience as a student.”
Evan now serves as the director of student ministries at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church in California, where he works with high school, junior high, and college students. He credits North Park with giving him the experience and training he now uses daily as he trains, develops, and encourages volunteers and youth. “The youth ministry program established key teaching and leadership skills that are now an instinctual part of who I am as a pastor,” he said.
“North Park influenced and shaped the frameworks I see as essential for living out my faith,” Evan said. “I’m grateful for the clear missional and relational commitment North Park assumes for the city. It taught me so much about how to be a relevant Christ-follower and person who can live a life of significance.”