Thursday, May 19, 2011

Staff Spotlight: Raul Rodriguez, Hispanic Relations

What’s your position with CWE365, and how long have you been employed with CWE?
I’m the Hispanic Recruiter for CWE and CWE365. I have worked for camp for almost 3 years, first with Hispanic Recruiting and Camp Maintenance staff, and now with CWE365.

How did you first come to be a part of the CWE family?
*Jokes* Like Chief Runamuck? “HOW!”
I met Pete Day (Director of CWE) in Arkansas a few times, and in Mexico we’d spent maybe 3 weeks together in different locations serving Rivers of Mercy (ROM) [] children’s home. He came to visit my wife and I when we were serving at ROM as missionaries in Juarez, MX. We were on furlow here in Arkansas, and Pete offered me a role with Recruiting.  The Lord directed me to stay, and then a position opened up with Ozone.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Office work! Throughout the time I’ve worked with CWE, I’ve noticed the Lord equipping me with the ability to carry on the dream and vision of the CWE family. Growing up, my dad encouraged me to work hard, but he didn’t have much interest in school. If we had wanted to, we could have dropped out in 2nd grade. Making money to survive was the most important thing to him. We weren’t encouraged to stay in school and be equipped (for office work). On the other hand, I thank my dad for waking us up early at a young age, to help him carry the strawberries he’d picked. We would work hard all morning until 12, eat lunch, and then go to school at 1.

What’s your favorite story from your time with Ozone?
Meeting Mariano (Mendez, senior at Heritage High School) at the cross country field house.  From there, through his friendship with Audrey (Rodriguez, Raul’s daughter), I was given the opportunity to be around him. Watching him make a decision for Christ, and watching the passion that followed, was exciting. It wasn’t just me, but also the other Ozone staff, volunteers, and students that served the Lord by loving Mariano and teaching him.

What’s your favorite joke?
A guy took his girlfriend to her first football game. His team won the coin toss.  He and his team played hard and won the game!  Afterwards he asked her what she thought about the game.
She replied, “I just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents." Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you mean?" "Well, they flipped a coin, one team got it, and then for the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was: 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!’"

If you could see 5 years into the future of Ozone, what would you hope to see?
I would love to have more Hispanic parents involved and encouraging their children.  We know there are lots of kids who want to be a part of our program.  If we had the parental support (willingness to transport their kids to events, encouragement for participation in events, following up on lessons learned, etc.), the program would be even more successful.  

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ouachita Baptist University College Visit

For those who are from the north, Oh-Washita would be the correct form of the word. But because Ouachita Baptist University resides in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, I will try to pronounce it correctly for the sake of my southern friends.  

Ozone Ministries seeks to help students in NWA understand the importance of higher education and desires to help them pursue the option of attending college. Setting out to further this goal, on April 14-15 Ozone Directors Emily Bankhead (an OBU alumna) and Erin Wiltse ventured with three high school students to spend two days on the OBU campus. The trip was designed to give the students a taste of what college life could be like for them in the future.
Students visiting the University!

Over the course of the two days, the high school students stayed in dorms with current OBU students, ate meals in the cafeteria, attended the university’s spring musical, visited a class, participated in a tour of the campus, met new friends, and asked lots of questions. When asked about her visit, Kayla Lute, a junior at Springdale High School said, “It was great!  I loved the way they worked with us. Everyone was so friendly and all of the information they gave us was truly helpful.” 

Whether it means helping students research colleges and the programs they offer, apply for scholarships, or study for the ACT, the Ozone Staff desires to be available as a valuable support network for our students as they navigate the road towards college.