Navs, Urban Vision Ministry team up to volunteer

Randy Cadorini

As part of the Navigators outreach work, sophomore history major Travis Oberlin and Jeff Burdette, junior applied mathematics major, help serve breakfast at Urban Vision Ministry’s Kids Club. RANDY CADORINI | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State’s campus ministry, the Navigators, is teaming up with Akron-based Urban Vision Ministry to provide volunteers for Saturday programs.

Each Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m., the Navigators take student volunteers to Akron’s Elizabeth Park neighborhood. They provide assistance to Urban Vision’s Kids Club program, which takes place in the newly acquired ARC building.

Emilie Noland, sophomore early childhood education major, volunteers on Saturdays.

“It is a great place for us to spread our wings,” Noland said. “Urban Vision is pouring their hearts into the kids so it feels good to help out.”

The Kids Club program starts each session by serving breakfast to the children. Kent State students help serve the food and mingle with the children. Following breakfast, the children are divided into three groups according to age. The groups have worship consisting of songs and stories. The day wraps up with prizes and inspirational words from founder Jodi Matthews.

“Our groups share a common vision,” Navigators director Greg Bryan said. “That vision is forming genuine relationships with the people they are trying to serve.

“Urban Vision aligns itself with the people by living in the community they are trying to help,” Bryan said.

Jodi Matthews and her husband Rodney, the board treasurer, decided to move into the community in 1992 and began doing mission work out of their house.

“It makes a difference to the people you are trying to help,” Rodney Matthews said. “It shows them our commitment and that we are here for good.”

Over the years, Urban Vision has continued doing mission work in a variety of buildings.

“We were using a church a few years back but lost it to eminent domain,” Rodney Matthews said.

The ministry acquired an old church in September. The facility needed a lot of work just to get up and running.

“When we took over the facility, it was in serious disrepair,” Jodi Matthews said. “Most of the pipes had burst, and the whole building needed a lot of work.”

In addition to Saturday programs, Urban Vision provides after-school mentoring programs, parent meetings, math club and a junior-high night.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Urban Vision Ministry can contact Jodi or Rodney Matthews through their Web site at

Contact religion reporter Randy Cadorini at [email protected].