This summer we welcome a new intern to the team, Janessa Colburn. Janessa is attending Cedarville University in Ohio and joins Loom as a Communications Intern. Get to know Janessa’s story and her passion for supporting local innovators!
Loom: Tell us about yourself and the journey that led you here. What passions and experiences interested you in an internship with Loom?
Janessa: I felt called to be a missionary the summer before 7th grade, but I had never left the US until I moved to Honduras two years later. Since then, I have been to 10 different countries. Through these experiences, I learned a lot about trust and following God wherever he leads, and how to be a faithful example and disciple no matter where I am. Whenever I meet new people, hear new stories, and experience new cultures, I get more excited to serve people around the world. God has used all of my experiences on missions trips, working with refugees, teaching Sunday School, farming, groundskeeping, running for President at Cedarville University, and being the summer team director at a retreat center to make me more aware of opportunities to serve and use the gifts he has given me.
My current job as the Involvement Director at Cedarville University has given me more of a passion and vision for the kind of work I want to do. I get to equip Org Officers (the people in charge of the social, academic, and sports clubs) with the resources and training they need in order to provide the best experiences for their members. I want to be someone that gives others the tools, support, and resources that empower them to complete the tasks God has given them. I’m excited to intern with Loom because I think they do a great job of supporting locals and enabling them to meet the needs of their own communities!
Loom: What’s one thing you wish people knew about you?
Janessa; I like to describe my personality as either a jellyfish or a hummingbird. I’m only a jellyfish when I’m really tired, bored, or I am coming into a new place with people that I’m not as familiar with. People also describe me as a puppy that gets really excited and hyper, but is also very easily distracted because my brain goes so fast and I am interested in so many things!
Loom: Loom is very focused on holistic community thriving. In your community growing up, do you feel it was structured for all members to thrive? Why or why not?
Janessa: I grew up in a VERY small farming community in Washington. From my perspective, everyone was looking out for each other. The community members invested in the school by providing funding and field trip opportunities, and coming in as guest speakers to provide practical, hands-on experience and education. They came to sports events and graduation ceremonies. I felt like my classmates were my siblings because I could joke around with them, but at the end of the day I knew they truly cared about me. The community, especially including the members of our church, was full of people who cared about others and saw the necessity and value of investing in their neighbors and the local community.
Loom: If you could be part of one program within a Family Resource Center, what would you choose, and why?
Janessa: That is a difficult question because I have a lot of passions and every part of these programs is essential! I am not formally educated in social work, education, or counseling, but I would love to be engaged with kids in a less formal way. I would also love to be part of the agricultural, gardening, or farming aspect of a resource center that teaches people hard work, problem solving, and gives them tools and resources to support and sustain themselves.
Loom: What are you hoping to learn during your internship with Loom? What kind of future do you hope it prepares you for?
Janessa: When I first heard about this internship, I was most excited to build connections with and hear stories from the social innovators that Loom partners with in Africa, along with getting to meet and work with the Loomers in Portland. I have already seen how intentional they are about asking questions and seeking the best ways to help, but also not being afraid to take action and learn as they go. I hope that this experience gives me more insight into how to help vulnerable people create sustainable systems with resources to help their communities.
Loom: Anything else you want to share?
Janessa; I wish I could show people all of the places I’ve been and introduce them to everyone I know. Every person is different and has a very unique and interesting story, and it’s hard to really understand someone until you have spent time walking in their shoes, getting to know them, asking questions and listening. People have so many stories and passions and experiences to share. Our slogan when I ran for President at Cedarville was “One People, One Purpose,” which we got from Romans 5, talking about how each member of the body of Christ is equally unique and necessary. One of the beautiful things about the family of God is that each person is completely different, but we share the common goal of knowing Christ and making him known to the people around us!