Students at commencement

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Alley Shoppe@Arlington Hills Lutheran Church

Address:1115 Greenbrier St.
City:Saint Paul

Student Information

What kind of Christian Public Leader student would be right for you:I am open to any kind of Christian Public Leader student.
How many students have you worked with in the past:I have worked with over 50 students from St. Catherine University. I have also worked with one intern from Luther.
How many rising students or seminarians do you work with currently:0
For this coming semester, what is the maximum number of students with whom you could work:1
What is the optimal length of learning for students working with you:2 semesters|4 semesters
Why would this length of time be best:One semester will give the student a feel for the ministry of the Alley Shoppe. It will allow time for them to engage with a variety of programs and experiences. We also have a natural break in our schedule that coincides with a semester break. One or two academic years is also a possibility because that would give the student more experience and time to develop their skills and interests. Actually, I can tailor the types of activities the student engages in to any length of time.

Site Information

Site keywords:ministry to people in poverty,immigrants and refugees urban ministry Job skill programs 45 year old volunteer run organization multi-faith ministry listening ministry
What is your congregation or nonprofit organization all about:Arlington Hills Lutheran Church's mission is strongly based on collaboration and providing for the mind, body and spiritual needs of our neighbors. We believe that 1+1=3, meaning that we can do more together than any one organization can do alone. The congregation works closely with the Minnesota Literacy Council. We share space, staff, programs and a strong commitment to new Minnesotans. The congregation is also a member of the Payne/Maryland Partnership group which is comprised of several organizations. This unique relationship allows us many opportunities to engage in our community.
The Alley Shoppe is the largest outreach ministry of the congregation and is a great model of collaboration. Alley Shoppe serves families in Ramsey County and other east metro areas with clothing, household goods, snacks while shopping, birthday bags,school supplies and Christmas gifts.Alley Shoppe serves about 10,000 people each year. As part of the Alley Shoppe ministry, we serve as a job skills training site for adults learning English as part of the Open Door Learning Center. We are a service learning site for college students in the areas of Public Health, Nursing, Nutrition as well as several others. We also provide service opportunities for many groups in the community.
Our strongest collaborators are the Minnesota Literacy Council, St. Catherine University and St. Paul Parks and Recreation. We are part of the Farm-Faith project of Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul. We are also a part of HealthEast's Health and Well Being Collaborative.
Please tell us a bit about your site:Alley Shoppe is a free clothing and household goods store that has been housed at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church in St. Paul since 1970. Families are referred by social service agencies throughout the county for services. The church is heavily involved in the re-development of the Payne Maryland area in collaboration with the City of St. Paul, St. Paul Public Library, St. Paul Parks and Rec, The Y, and others. The focus of this Payne Maryland Partnership is to care for the mind, body and spirit of our neighbors.
The Alley Shoppe is one of the places where this occurs. We are open for families to shop on Tuesdays during the school year. We see about 70 families per Tuesday. In addition to our core ministry of providing basic needs to our neighbors the Alley Shoppe is also used as a job skills training site for adults in the Minnesota Literacy Council’s English Language classes. The ESL students have an opportunity to gain volunteer experience and practice their spoken English outside of the classroom as they learn skills necessary for gaining employment in Minnesota. We also have community gardens on the church property that are used as teaching sites for the adult students. This learning takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays generally. Through this ministry and it's related programs and collaborations there are tremendous opportunities for students to explore their own areas of interest or plug into existing programs.
Alley Shoppe is run by volunteers. There are 55+ volunteers that keep the program running each week and many more that support the program in other capacities.
We have been very fortunate to receive several awards for our work. We received the Adult Basic Education partnership of the year award for 2012 from the Minnesota Literacy Network, Minnesota Literacy Council Partner of the year statewide award 2012, President's Community Partner Award from St. Catherine University 2013, Neighborhood Honor Roll from the City of St. Paul for service to the community 2014, and 11 Who KARE winner 2008.
Last year we served over 10,000 people at the shop, 1146 children received Christmas gifts from us, and hundreds of adults learning English learned job skills in areas of retail, custodial and sewing. College students reflected on issues surrounding poverty, homelessness,economic justice, and healthy living in Minnesota. These students had their view of the world changed in many ways because they had an opportunity to engage with families and individuals that they may have never encountered before. I believe we are all better because of what we learn from each other. This is how we shape leaders for our future.
Please tell us what a student can learn at your site:Students can explore a variety of learning opportunities. One important area, I believe, is in the area of listening. We have a great site for learning from people in poverty and what their needs are. We do a great job of caring for people's physical needs but we could do a better job of caring for their spiritual needs. Students could explore ways of sharing the Gospel with families that use Alley Shoppe understanding the great diversity of those that visit.
Students could explore ways to create a place of mutual respect and understanding and support for our English Language Learners.
One of the great strengths of our site is the wide range of opportunities that are available to students. We have been serving families through the Alley Shoppe for 45 years and through the congregation for 105 years. The church is committed to St. Paul which is a great strength. We also have long time faithful volunteers, many have volunteered over 10 years. Volunteers come from Arlington Hills and many other churches and organizations.

Another strength is the partnership with the Minnesota Literacy Council. We do many joint projects with the congregation and the school each year. We have a job skills class in the Alley Shoppe, conversation circles for congregation members and adults learning English to learn from each other, Thanksgiving celebrations, school community gardens for teaching, to name just a few.

Some of the challenges are that we are in an old building so we have some interesting space issues. We also serve a population that changes frequently in those that visit the Alley Shoppe and the ESL school. This means every interaction is important. We may not see someone again for several months.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful Pastor and staff that supports and believes in the work that we do. This affords us the flexibility to try new ventures, programs and ideas in and with the Alley Shoppe and it's related programming and with the congregation.

Mentor Information: Pam Wiehe

Current position:Alley Shoppe Director and Local Missions Coordinator for Arlington Hills Lutheran Church
Please tell us a little bit about yourself as a Christian public leader:I became the director of the Alley Shoppe in 2001, not because I was looking but, because I was called. I tell people God called three times before I said yes! I am happy to share more of my story if you are interested. The Alley Shoppe director position is volunteer, as are all of the jobs at the shoppe. I am also the Local Mission director at AHLC and staff with the Minnesota Literacy Council. I attended Augustana College and the University of MN for my undergraduate and graduate work in Audiology. I received a mini-MBA for non-profits from the University of St. Thomas in 2006. It is really interesting to me how many of the jobs and training I have had helps me greatly in my current position. Certainly something I couldn't have predicted.
One part of my job involves volunteer development. I believe that there is a place for anyone that wants to volunteer. I work with people to find the best use of their skills and interests to see how and where to use them. I believe this is one of the reasons we have so many long term volunteers.
My goals also involve expanding the spiritual offerings available to families using the Alley Shoppe. There are so many needs among people in poverty and those that are new to our country the possibilities for Christian public leaders are endless. My faith has been shaped by my family and my Bible Study group, which I have been a part of for over 30 years, since I was a youth leader. I love to see God working in our world and I believe that God works in and through Alley Shoppe each week. I often tell people that if they do not think God is active in our world they just need to come and spend a day with me.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself as a mentor of students:As a mentor, I like to give students opportunities to explore areas they are interested in while working within guidelines. I ask students to be open to possibilities and not come with preconceived ideas for their work with me. The Spirit works in, among and through the Alley Shoppe ministry and if we are too rigid we can miss the nudgings of the Spirit.
I prefer to have students bounce their ideas and concerns off of me so that we can decide together how their project fits in with the overall work we do. I am fairly flexible as a supervisor in terms of expectations but I do need to work with students on the times they will be at the church. We have a wide variety of programs and volunteers it is important that I keep track of who is coming when!
I prefer to be a supervisor that is flexible, approachable, open to ideas and permission giving. I feel there are many great ideas and I am willing to try a lot of them. I usually try new things for a couple months and then evaluate to see how we continue.