Journal Title George Fox Journal Online

Agents of change

The Act Six Group

by Sean Patterson

Their interests, experiences, and tastes are as diverse as their backgrounds. One was born in Congo and is the first in her family to attend college. Another aspires to become a Broadway singer. Still another admits to craving banana Slurpees and doughnuts.

They do have one thing in common: They are the first students to be selected for the university’s Act Six leadership and scholarship initiative-a program that equips emerging urban leaders to lead and serve on the George Fox campus before returning to their neighborhoods as agents of change after college. Act Six is an initiative of George Fox University in partnership with Portland Central Young Life.

Their arrival is the culmination of more than two years of planning and comes a year after this group was chosen from a pool of Portland-area candidates. With the Act Six program the university will offer full-ride scholarships, housing, and books to a multicultural group of about 10 students each year, and more than 50 are expected to apply for 2008-09 spots.

Already this year’s group is making an impact on the Newberg campus: leading Bible studies, singing in choir, and participating in the university’s ADVANCE Leadership Development Program. "They are thrilled to be here and we’re thrilled to have them," says Joel Perez, director of student transitions.

Nine students. Nine stories. Here are their profiles.

Yabadi (Rebecca) Tshimanga, 18, Portland

Yabadi Tshimanga Siblings: One of eight children
One word to describe you: Generous
High school: Grant High School
Major: Nursing
Leadership experience: Youth council member for American Red Cross
Activities/hobbies: Softball, math mentor, baby-sitting, braiding hair
Guilty pleasure: Eating a lot of sweets before going to bed
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: I was born in Congo, where it’s very hard to get help when you’re sick. I want to change that. One of the reasons I want to become a nurse is so I can help people in need.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? I would love to have a husband and children. I would also love to be a nurse and help people.

Jonny Christian, 20, Portland

Jonny Christian Siblings: One brother, two sisters
One word to describe you: Respectful
High school: Grant High School
Major: Nursing
Leadership experience: Two years as wrestling team captain, Young Life, youth group event coordinator, self-led mission trips
Activities/hobbies: High school wrestling for four years, missions trips with church and with Youth With a Mission, listening to and making music
Guilty pleasure: To dance like no one is watching
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: Raising money for a self-led missions trip to spread the gospel and hand out food to the poor
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? Working in nursing and most likely doing some volunteer work in other countries

Courtney Greenidge, 18, Clackamas, Ore.

Courtney Greenidge Siblings: Two older sisters
One word to describe you: Charismatic
High school: Clackamas High School
Major: Vocal music performance
Leadership experience: Thespian council, alto section leader and co-chairperson in A-Choir in high school, producer of a Christmas benefit concert for pregnancy resource centers
Activities/hobbies: Theater, singing, scrapbooking, bowling, camping, volleyball, basketball, shopping, VBS volunteering, mission trips, assisting less fortunate families through fund-raisers
Why George Fox? It’s a Christ-centered university, so I will be built up in my faith as I further my education. Even without the scholarship, I still would have applied to George Fox, and I would have applied for a variety of scholarships to assist me.
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: When I was 12, I had emergency surgery and was told if I were to fall on my hip one more time I would need a complete hip replacement. It taught me that God always takes any situation in life and turns it out for the good.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? Musical theater on Broadway

Ryan Moats, 18, Portland

Ryan Moats Siblings: Two little sisters
One word to describe you: Fun-loving
High school: David Douglas High School
Major: History
Leadership experience: Captain of high school soccer team, student council
Activities/hobbies: Soccer and golf teams, Young Life, volunteer at youth camp
Guilty pleasure: Listening to some good old boy-band music as loud as I can
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: After volunteering for a month at Young Life’s Wildhorse Canyon camp, I realized I love to help youth and wanted to be a teacher to help with their education, and if possible, spiritual growth.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? To be a husband, father, and general family man

Vanessa Wilkins, 18, Hillsboro, Ore.

Vanessa Wilkins Siblings: One of eight children
One word to describe you: Vivacious
High school: Liberty High School
Major: Music education
Leadership experience: High school choir leader, working with younger kids, VBS leader, school leadership positions
Activities/hobbies: Choir, school and community theater, singing, piano, reading, kayaking, working with youth choirs
Why George Fox? Act Six is what initially attracted me to George Fox. It was hard for me to comprehend why a highly regarded institution like George Fox would take such a risk for 10 students; part of me believed it was too good to be true.
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: Last August, my family adopted two children from Kazakhstan and it’s hard for me to imagine life without them.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? I would love to be a choir director in a middle school or an English teacher in a high school.

Irene Joy Johnson, 18, Portland

Irene Joy Johnson Siblings: One older sister, one older brother
One word to describe you: Easygoing
High school: David Douglas High School
Major: Elementary education
Leadership experience: Senior class president, track and field captain, Young Life student leader, camp counselor for "at risk" youth
Activities/hobbies: Track, student council, tutor at middle school homework club, Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, baking, running, sewing
Guilty pleasure: I love doughnuts, banana Slurpees, and watching spelling bees on ESPN.
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: Being a counselor at Wilderness Trails helped me realize that I really want to help young kids. I know that God is calling me to serve and to have a heart for "at risk" children.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? I would love to have a family and either be working at an elementary school or ministering to troubled youth.

Jesus Marcial Garcia, 19, Portland

Jesus Marcial Garcia Siblings: One of nine children
One word to describe you: Caring
High school: Gresham High School
Major: Finance and international relations
Activities/hobbies: Young Life leader, student leader for Portland East Club, captain of basketball team, track and field, translating for Latinos, Salvation Army volunteer, watching movies, shopping for shoes
Why George Fox? I liked the fact it was a Christ-centered campus, classes were small, and I could have a more personal relationship with teachers. They actually care for you and you’re not just another number in class.
Guilty pleasure: Eating whatever I want when I want without gaining a single pound
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: Moving in with the Beall family. They really encouraged me in everything I did and made it possible for me to meet all the great people who have impacted my life.
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? Hopefully I will have a stable accounting job, be a Young Life leader, be married to my lovely wife, have a home, and have maybe one kid.

SuiFeng Liu (Leon), 20, Portland

SuiFen Liu Siblings: One little sister; originally from Taishan, China
One word to describe you: Positive
High school: Franklin High School
Major: International business
Leadership experience: Group leader for a teenage group at Chinese Baptist Church in Portland
Activities/hobbies: Basketball, soccer, listening to music, writing, assisting elderly at care home
Why George Fox? I feel it is one of the best Christian private universities in the West. I never thought I would get the Act Six scholarship because I don’t speak the best English. So, when the moment came and I heard I got it, I was so thankful for what God had done for me.
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: Getting the Act Six scholarship because I always wanted to get a good degree from a four-year university
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? I would like to have my own business, which will do some contributing to the lower class of society. Also, my homeland of China still has many people who don’t know about Jesus Christ. One of my goals is to help the poor get an education and bring Bibles to those who need to hear the gospel.

Jael Chambers, 19, Portland

Jael Chambers Siblings: Youngest of three boys
One word to describe you: Humble
High school: David Douglas High School
Major: Business and Christian ministries
Leadership experience: Leader in Young Life, varsity basketball, Bible study
Activities/hobbies: Basketball, Young Life, African-American Club, football, soccer, Bible studies, volunteer at East Portland Community Center. I hope to play basketball, get involved with Multicultural Club, and be a Bible floor leader on campus.
Guilty pleasure: I love to eat two hot dogs with ranch dressing, cheese, and ketchup - and eat white rice with butter while watching movies.
Significant life experience that helped shape your goals: Going to Young Life camp and giving my testimony
What would you like to be doing in 10 years? I want to be working for Young Life and traveling around the United States talking to churches and schools.

Highlights

On the move
The university’s new president combines a competitive fire with a passion for the integration of faith and intellect.  Full story...

Agents of change
Their interests, experiences, and tastes are as diverse as their backgrounds. One was born in Congo and is the first in her family to attend college. Meet the students of Act Six.  Full story...

Bruin Notes
National Science Foundation Grants | Serve Day | Professors in print: new books | George Fox to honor Bailey | Record enrollment | George Fox joins the national ranks in 'U.S. News & World Report' | Educating the scientists of tomorrow | Art fund update   Full stories...