125,000 Hours of Service 

Since our earliest days as Seattle Seminary, SPU has been committed to serving the community. Now we’re extending this idea even further with our goal of documenting 125,000 Hours of Service during the 125th anniversary year.

Throughout the year, we’ll track service hours contributed by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents.

Volunteer Hours thermometer

Service hours will funnel through SPU events and organizations such as SPRINT, CityQuest, the Perkins Center, and Latreia. Other hours will be recorded through academic internships and clinical practicums including nursing, teacher education, marriage and family therapy, and clinical and I/O psychology. Finally, we will also track individual or group alumni/staff/parent volunteer efforts in their churches or communities. 

Track your hours and send them to us through our the “Submit Volunteer Hours” page. Send along a photo as well and we'll include it below alongside the other students, alumni, faculty, and staff who are doing their part to give back to the community and reach our goal.

Meanwhile, consult our events page for coming events you can get involved in.

Seattle Pacific Seminary Students “Contextual Education”

September—December, 2016 | 1,520 hours | 16 SPU Seminarians

Each quarter, Seattle Pacific Seminary students enroll in what’s called "Contextual Education," where they undertake a variety of administrative and ministry tasks in churches throughout the Seattle area. One example is Brandon Bleek, who currently serves at University Presbyterian Church. His primary responsibilities include care for the church's missionaries, mission leaders, and small group facilitators. In addition, he oversees short-term mission implementation, Sunday liturgist duties, and general care of congregants. Currently, he's deeply involved in a Lent initiative to challenge the congregation to look at the multi-ethnic family of God and how to better reflect and engage it. Photo: Brandon (far right) taking a break with team members on a missions project in Tijuana, Mexico.

Hanna Roseen, Green Seattle Day volunteer

November 2016 | 3 hours | SPU Student

I participated in Green Seattle Day by planting trees and spreading mulch in Discovery Park.

Urban Involvement

September – December, 2016 l 4,361 Hours l 113 SPU Students

Urban Involvement connects SPU students to a variety of community organizations through weekly service teams and quarterly immersion experiences. For Autumn Quarter 2016, 113 SPU students served alongside ten partner organizations and programs: Bride Care Center, EYFO, Cultural Companions, Neighborhood House, Pike Place Community Dinners, Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Hope Place Elementary, UGM White Center Remix, UGM Youth Services, UI Emerald City Commons, and Rainier Beach High School.


September – December, 2016 l 420 Hours l 60 SPU Students

Latreia, coordinated through the John Perkins Center, is a resource program for SPU students interested in serving in Seattle. Latreia matches students' passions, focus of study, or general interests with local agencies looking for volunteers. Service opportunities may be one-time projects or long-term experiences. For Autumn Quarter 2016, Latreia sponsored two service days involving 60 SPU students who participated in eight different sites around Seattle.

SPU administrative leaders serve at FareStart

February 2, 2017 | 54 Hours | SPU Administrators

On Thursday, February 2, nine Seattle Pacific University administrators, including President Dan Martin, volunteered at FareStart’s Guest Chef Night. Since 1994, this program has raised more than $4.5 million to support FareStart’s student culinary job training and placement services for youth and adults coming from challenging circumstances. Guest Chef Night is a celebration of the organization’s graduates, and the students and chefs who worked to prepare the meal. On the night the SPU team served, Matt Lewis of Café Roux was the guest chef. From that meal, $6,337 dollars were earned, including $4,709 from the food and beverages, and an additional $1,628 from donations—all this coming from 137 diners. This amount covers one student in the youth program, plus counseling and life skills instruction for one adult student. Those from SPU who served at FareStart included: President Martin, Jeff Van Duzer, Louise Furrow, Gaile Moe, Margaret Brown, Katy Tangenberg, Michael Paulus, Jennifer Standlee, and John Glancy.

Bob Rorabaugh ‘69, teacher assistant, library volunteer, church volunteer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 593 Hours | SPU Alumnus

I'm "the tool guy," overseeing a team of eight other "old guys who like tools” at Helping Hands Ministries International Thrift Store. We receive, clean, sort, repair, price, and place tools for sale, adding yet another revenue stream to assist the poorest of the poor in northern Peru, fire victims in Snohomish County, and also to stretch the benevolence dollars of local churches. I'm also on the board of Shelton View Forest Stewardship Association, serving as vice president (special projects), liaison to elected and appointed government officials, and helping with trail maintenance. Shelton View is a 75-acre forest within the city of Bothell. Our purpose is to preserve it as open space — a "wild place” surrounded by the fastest growing area in the state of Washington. This means working with both the city and the Department of Natural Resources. I presently serve as the membership chairman for western Washington's division of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA). Technically, 700 of us are the 4th division of the Pacific Northwest Region. The hobby encompasses many skill sets, ages, genders, and abilities. Often, we are older mentors to two generations, following the fascinating history, function, and fun of trains. I’m also a blood and platelet donor. Why? Because our Savior was the ultimate "blood donor." His paid the price for my sin.

Jan Rorabaugh ‘69, teacher assistant, library volunteer church volunteer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 486 Hours | SPU Alumna

On Mondays, I assist teachers in a public elementary school, sometimes working with first and fourth graders. On Tuesdays, I volunteer with the Bothell branch of the King County Library System (largest in the U.S.), where I worked for 31 years. I help find requested information for patrons. On Wednesdays, I serve as a data entry helper at the Northshore Community Church where my husband served on staff for 21 years. I help process student applications, health forms, and volunteer sign-up. On Thursdays, I serve at our church, either with childcare for M.O.P.S (Mothers of Preschoolers), or setting up for Women of Wisdom luncheons.

Megan Stariha, youth tutor

September-December 2016 | 30 Hours | SPU Staff Member

Every Monday of the school year, I individually tutor two middle school girls through the High Point Community Center's Youth Tutoring Program. We work on their highest priority school work, and on building foundation skills as time allows.

Martha Picinich ’17, creator of project benefiting homeless women, teacher of mindfulness and meditation, Veterans Day volunteer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 56 Hours | SPU Student

I created a nonprofit project called Purposeful Purses to benefit homeless women in Seattle. I enrolled companies and individual groups to help create purses for local homeless women, and we distributed them in conjunction with the Union Gospel Mission. I also teach mindfulness and meditation to a support group of patients with Parkinson’s disease and senior citizens as a retirement home, along with SPU graduate students. In November 2016, I helped present a 21-flag ceremony to senior citizens on Veterans Day to celebrate three living World War II veterans.

Susan Essary ‘79, church choir member, small group leader, and KidsHopeUSA mentor

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 225 hours | SPU Alumna

I’m a church choir member and leader of a small group. I also mentor a third-grade student with kidshopeusa.

Lori Brown, volleyball team volunteer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 400 hours | SPU Staff Member

I’m a volunteer for Seatown Volleyball Beyond Borders, and for the Franklin high School Volleyball Team.

Kate Kramer ‘17, Ladybug House

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 20 Hours | SPU student

I helped with organization structure assessment and operational process review for ladybug, a nonprofit startup.

Valorie Orton ’75, healthcare clinic founder and coordinator

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 50 Hours | SPU Alumna, Faculty Member

I helped launch a free healthcare clinic in the Snoqualmie Valley area, and I serve as the clinic coordinator. Care Point is part of the Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church.

Iona Parker ’73, ‘93, Sunday school teacher, church treasurer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 232 Hours | SPU Alumna, Staff Member

I’m a Sunday school teacher and serve as church treasurer and Finance Committee member at Lakewood New Hope Church of the Nazarene.

Niki Amarantides, homelessness advocate

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 60 Hours | SPU Staff Member

I am trying to end homelessness by serving dinner with St. Paul's Episcopal Church every month, serving on the board for the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness with monthly meetings and activities, and serving on the Advisory Board for Tent City 5 (currently located in the Interbay area near campus.)

Steve Gough ’70, Awana Club and Boys Brigade Leader

Academic Year, 2016-17 / 101 Hours / SPU Alumnus, Parent

I currently serve as Chief Ranger of Boys Brigade at Highlands Community Church as well as Commander of an AWANA club. I also co-teach an adult Sunday School class. In previous years, I’ve been a member of SPU’s Alumni Board and served as a volunteer track coach at the high school level.

Richard Sleight, Bible study teacher, photographer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 546 Hours | SPU Staff Member, Parent

I volunteer with three activities annually. I’m lead a weekly Bible study  at Bellevue Presbyterian Church; I’m a summer Bible teacher at Emerald Heights Retirement Community in Redmond, Washington; and I’m a sports photographer for Bellevue Christian School.

Owen Ewald, youth group and small group leader

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 125 Hours | SPU Associate Professor of Classics

I co-lead and convene two groups at Christ Church Seattle. One is a youth group, called EPIC, where topics for discussion include church history, minor prophets, and Christianity’s relationship with other faiths. The other is an adult reading and spiritual growth group called Spiritual Quest II. We read and discuss authors such as Barbara Brown Taylor and Richard Rohr.

Kenda Gatlin ’88, high school volunteer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 20 Hours | SPU Alumna, Staff Member

I recently became involved in two parts of FIRST Robotics. In 2015, King's High School (during my son's senior year) launched Unified Robotics, partnering with special-needs kids from Roosevelt High School and working with them to build elementary-level robots. This year, the program expanded to other high schools and the state championship was held at the Pacific Science Center ꟷ I helped with set up for that day. I also helped as a scorer for division matches this year for FIRST Washington. For one of the matches, we housed participants from the Ugandan Robotics Team, which King High School launched. This was the first robotics match with Special Olympics and the first eastern African team to have a FIRST robotics team. 

Amy Wright ’90, board of trustees 

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 150 Hours | SPU Alumna

I am on the board of trustees for Encompass, an organization that partners with families to build healthy foundations for children through an array of programs in early learning and pediatric therapy services available to all members of the Snoqualmie Valley community.

Lara Patterson Lutz ’09, bookkeeper, treasurer, board of directors

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 300 Hours | SPU Alumna

I’m responsible for strategic planning, advocacy, and fundraising for SAFE, a growing grassroots nonprofit local horse rescue.

Katie Bennett ‘09, group leader, volunteer

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 300 Hours | SPU Alumna, Staff Member

Katie Bennett ’09, graduate program administrative assistant in the School of Health Sciences, volunteers with the high school youth in Lutheran Youth of North Seattle, a cooperative youth group. In addition to regular gatherings she accompanied the youth on their summer trip to Montana in August and helped them to put on an original musical theater production called "Waiting for Luther" earlier in the year.

Warm Beach Camp Board of Directors

Academic Year, 2016-17 | 600 hours | 10 SPU Alumni/Board of Trustees

Three times per year, 10 SPU alumni and a former SPU Trustee volunteer as members of the Warm Beach Camp Board of Directors. Warm Beach Camp, located in Stanwood, Washington, is a Christian camp and conference center that serves thousands of guests per year drawn from churches, non-profit organizations, and government groups. Pictured here (l to r) are Ryan Beagle ’05, Ed McDowell ’85, Daryl Miller ’75, David Goodnight (former SPU Trustee), Molly Holzknecht ’79, Joyce Trepus ’60, Darlene Hartley ’65, John Glancy ’70, Matt Whitehead ’79, and Frank Cranston ’56.

SPRINT Teams Summer 2016

June 14-September 9, 2016 | 19,032 Hours | 29 Students

In all, six SPRINT teams comprised of SPU students ventured throughout the world during Summer 2016, serving in four different countries: Dominican Republic, a country in Southeast Asia, Haiti, and Guatemala. Activities included community outreach, construction, education, children’s programs, and in one country, sustainable community engineering. One Southeast Asian team was able to help local residents with this painting project (photo).

SPRINT Team to Southeast Asia (1)

July 7-August 5, 2016 | 2,160 Hours | 3 Students

SPU students Lauren Nelson, Daniel Kuntz, and Flannery Tirtomihardjo (photo) spent roughly 30 days in Southeast Asia, traveling to three different islands and living with local families. They engaged in painting, construction, cleaning moats, and teaching English. Said one student, “the love and hospitality we received was far, far beyond the worth of service we brought. It was truly a blessing to live, laugh, and eat rice with them.”

CityQuest Teams 2016

September 24, 2016 | 2,400 Hours | 600 Students

Through the John Perkins Center, incoming SPU students spent a day in service to Seattle-area non-profit organizations on September 24 as part of the University’s new student orientation. Some 600 students volunteered in 29 different social and ministry organizations throughout the city such as Ballard Boys and Girls Club, El Centro de la Raza, Food Lifeline, King County Parks, Operation Nightwatch, Redeeming Soles, and World Concern. Photo: Students clean, sort, and prepare shoes for distribution to underprivileged persons of all ages throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Rebecca Vanderpoel ’75:  Bible teacher, missionary

Academic year, 2016–17 | 152 hours | 1 year Bible teaching to children/adults

I have volunteered to teach 4’s and 5’s the Word of God each week on Thursday evenings for two hours for the past 8 years. I also teach a Ladies of Faith Sunday School class two times a month. I spent 27 years with my husband as missionaries with Reach Global in Japan. I was also my father’s caregiver for eight years.