Commentary by Dr Whitesel: Abraham Maslow said one of the most critical, yet overlooked, tasks is meeting “safety needs:” the need people have for a safe and secure environment. Read this article to see how one church, in a dangerous neighborhood, weekly opens its doors for a potluck and free courses to provide a safe and popular environment for local residents. Thanks to Great Commission Research Network president James Cho for passing this along.
After 2014 tragedy, why the MIX in Santa Ana is thriving as a free source of classes, meals and love
by Theresa Walker, The Orange County Register, 12/28/16.
It’s a Wednesday night at Newsong Church in Santa Ana, and the gathering known as The MIX is in full swing…
Pop into different rooms on the church’s 17th Street campus, and classes for children and adults are underway, including art, baking, martial arts, crochet, piano and guitar, robotics, and PiYo, a mix of Pilates and yoga.
There are classes in English as a second language for adults and homework help for students.
The MIX is meant to create a safe place for families that live in overcrowded and risky neighborhoods, where it’s unsafe to go out at night. It gives them a place to relax, let the children run around in the open air, connect with one another and improve their lives.
It’s all free, with classes taught by volunteers who include church congregants and members of the wider community. They range from white-collar professionals to someone like Hilda Colin, a mom who heard about The MIX from neighbors.
The meals are typically potluck…
The MIX, formally called The MIX Academy, is Lo’s ministry, and he sums up its purpose in one word: Love.
There’s no preaching, but Lo views what happens at The MIX in spiritual terms.
People might come at first for the free food but find other nourishment when they break bread together and share their stories, their dreams and their talents, he said.
“To me, that’s community transformation, when you can equip the community to teach the community,” Lo said, adding that most of the people who attend The MIX are from impoverished and underserved areas, such as the Willard Intermediate School neighborhood around the corner from the church.
He hopes to train others to start their own version of The MIX at a second location in the city, if a place becomes available.
Lo talks about children who spend so much of their lives indoors – most of the day in a classroom at school and then all evening cooped up inside at home – an overcrowded apartment or maybe just one room in a house, because their parents fear what might happen to them on the streets. Or there is no place for them to play outside. Or there is no money to pay for after-school activities…
On routine nights, the free meal is served from 6 to 7 p.m. Then two hour-long sessions of classes take place, one starting at 7 p.m. and the other at 8 p.m. The classes are listed on a big screen inside the dining hall.
The MIX is supported by a host of donors, local and national, that include Wells Fargo, Nike, Adobe software, Trader Joe’s, Dave & Busters, Obey Clothing and Bracken’s Kitchen…