Christian Opportunity Center living skills advisor Willa Branderhorst reflected on her 35 years with the organization…in her own words.
Before working at the Christian Opportunity Center, we fostered a girl for four years who worked in COC’s Pella workshop. She then moved into COC’s new cottage that housed 15 adults and I was hired shortly after. I worked in that cottage until it closed and then transitioned to one of the four-person homes that COC purchased.
I still work there to this day.
It is very rewarding to help people reach their God-given potential.
For my 35 years of service, I received an iPad and a wireless keyboard as a gift from COC. It arrived just two days before my daughter and family from Missouri visited for Tulip Time, so they were able to help me set it up and teach me how to use it.
I’m enjoying it very much and I feel very appreciated.
Christian Opportunity Center Administrative Associate Christina Edsall presented alongside representatives from Central College at the March 20-23 Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Conference in Boston, Mass.
Edsall, who also serves as COC’s Volunteer Coordinator, teamed up with Central’s Cheri Doane, Peggy Fitch, and Linda Laine to discuss COC and Central’s efforts during the four-day conference inside the Sheraton Hotel. Doane is the Director of the Center for Community-Based Learning, Fitch is the Vice President for Student Development, and Laine is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies.
The group presented on the topic of Using Dialogue to Deepen Partnership Impact. Through a panel format, they shared their experiences of a mutually transformational partnership that is accelerating change for both the college and community. Edsall shared general information about COC, services COC provides, and provided a history of its partnership with Central, describing the impact of volunteer experiences on both Central students and people supported by COC.
“It was great to be able to share about COC’s partnership with Central,” Edsall said. “Other organizations were able to learn from what we do and apply it in their communities.
“This trip also strengthened our relationship with Central, as I was able to learn more about the challenges facing the college and they were able to learn more about the challenges facing COC. It gave us a better perspective and greater appreciation for one another.”
Following the panel session, Edsall was able to attend additional seminars and see the sights. COC Executive Director Rod Braun said this conference may open the door for Edsall to attend and contribute to future conferences in the state of Iowa and beyond.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to more than 300 people with disabilities in Dallas, Mahaska, Marion, Polk and Warren counties. COC’s mission is to integrate Christian values in teaching skills for life. For more information on COC and its services visit http://christianopportunity.org/.