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Michiana 2027: Young Elkhart County volunteers shape the future

NAPPANEE, Ind.-When changes and shifts happen in Michiana the change makers, the people, the families are the ones who will shape the future.

The Williams family has been volunteering at the Family Christian Development Center, or FCDC for short, for 10 years. Krista Williams, the mother, says she made sure her children learned volunteering is essential.

Now, she hopes those values will be carried on for many years to come, including in the year 2027.

“It’s just part of life,” says Krista. “What you can do when you don’t think of yourself and you think of those around you how you can make their lives better.”

At this center you’ll find ten hands working toward one goal. “We stock the shelves every week and now twice a week we go pick up bakery goods, put them on plates and I do enjoy eating them a lot,” says 12-year-old Earl Williams, one of Krista’s children.

Krista her four children, 14-year-old Andrea, 13-year-old Emily, 12-year-old Earl and 11-year-old Andrew  volunteer weekly at FCDC in Nappanee.

“It’s a fun thing to do if you don’t look at it in a negative way and I think that volunteering is education,” says Andrea.

17 years ago FCDC was the first place Krista found her purpose. I worked at FCDC for a couple years, until I started having children and then after that I volunteered.”

FCDC was the only place she found that allowed her young kids to help out. “My youngest was just over a year and we started volunteering there mainly in the food pantry, because that’s all they could do,” she says. “FCDC opened up the gates or doors to allow me children to serve at a young age.”

Krista decided to take it one step further. “It’s one reason why we home schooled our kids so that we could just if they needed something we can drop everything and help. I think it’s a great organization and I like they’re doing in their community.”   

Krista says volunteering has done much more for her children than providing the perfect pass time.

We’re here to make an impact on the world and taking my children with me and able to see those who are in need and being able to serve in that capacity has affected them already in their lives.”

Volunteering has affected them so much that these four children have already started planning their future.

“I want to be a missionary in Mexico,” says Andrea. “I would be offering some of my time to witness through my medicine as I help them learn more about Jesus.”

Krista says volunteers are vital to the health of any community. “I really felt like I was helping others not just in their physical needs, but developing those relationships that have extended to years now where we have a relationship and I’m able to see their families grow.”

The city has already pitched in, in order to help the community value service for the next several years.

Nappanee Mayor Phil Jenkins says the Wa-Nee Community Vision 2020, which is a program put in place to renovate and expand FCDC, will allow the community to become more involved.

“They really come together, if there is a need people are stepping up to help. It’s a really tight community family values are incredibly important,” says Krista.

Krista knows she cannot control what the future may bring, but hopes her children hold the values of volunteering for the next decade, and really all their lives.

“I really want them to grow up and look for ways to serve, look for ways to look outside of themselves,” says Krista. “Where it’s not so much about me, but about those around them how they can make a difference how they can love others.”

Mayor Jenkins says the Wa-Nee Community Vision 2020 program will improve the lifestyles of those in this community.

The mayor has already laid out a plan of what needs to happen so that by 2027 families like the Williams are all over Elkhart County.

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