- Watermark seems to have always run successfully on a volunteer model. Why transition to a paid youth coordinator?The fact that Watermark has been in existence, continuously running and growing for 20 consecutive years shows that we’ve been able to make the volunteer model work and that for whatever reason, it’s been “sustainable,” relatively speaking. To answer this question, it is important to first understand the experience of the volunteer youth coordinator.
While we’ve been blessed with volunteer coordinators so far that have felt the calling to serve in this capacity, we would categorize the experience of each of these volunteers (Hank to Steve to Henry to Pat) as “doing the best we can,” but never operating at our full potential. All four leaders of Watermark felt God’s calling to the ministry and had a heart of service, but all had to struggle with balancing professional jobs and other commitments along with the ministry. It is common for the volunteer youth coordinator to feel that if we were able to spend more time, we could do so much more – run better programs, provide better mentorship to students and young adults, gain more exposure in the broader diocese, etc.
In other words, Watermark could likely continue to run on a volunteer model, but due to a love for the San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission and a belief in Watermark Youth Ministry’s potential to make an even deeper impact on youths’ and the surrounding community’s lives, transitioning to a paid youth coordinator is the natural next step to even greater heights. Some say that Watermark has already set a fairly high bar in the context of Catholic Youth Ministry, but we are reaching for the dreams that God has put on our heart that go far beyond our current ministry.
In addition, practically speaking, it was not feasible to be able to setup a paid youth coordinator position in the past due to a lack of a specific type of candidate (one who is familiar with the ministry and knows and loves our community) and the ability for our community’s infrastructure to support it. One of the immediate benefits of our community’s transition to a Mission has been the ability to realistically support paid staff because of having a defined Finance Council, Pastoral Council, as well as a clear canonical status within the Diocese of San Jose.
- What are some of the dreams of Watermark Youth Ministry?Ever since 2008, the team of volunteer Watermark Staff gather at the end of the school year for a small get-away to reflect on the past year. Part of this gathering includes a time for us to share about our dreams for Watermark and to see how God might be leading us. The following is a non-prioritized and non-complete list of recently shared dreams ranging from practical to pie-in-the-sky:
- Establish a strong, relevant, organic English RCIA program for youth and young adults
- A Watermark Parent Community that meets regularly and supports each other
- A dedicated English chaplain for the youth and young adults
- Expand the ministry to include middle school students
- Establish a targeted college ministry
- How can I financially support this position?There are two ways to give.
The first way is online via SJCCM’s online giving site: https://www.myowngiving.com/Default.aspx?cid=1133
- Create an account
- Click on “Give a New Gift”
- Select a gift type under the “Watermark Youth Coordinator Fund” section (Recurring or One-Time)
- After filling out the required information, click on “Next”
- After confirming all of the information, click on “Submit” to finalize your gift
For more information about SJCCM’s online giving initiative, click here.
The second way is via check made out to “SJCCM” with a memo of “Youth Coordinator Fund.” You can either turn it in to a member of the Finance Council or mail it in to:San Jose Chinese Catholic Mission
725 Washington St
Santa Clara, CA 95050
ATTN: Youth Coordinator Fund
- What portion of donations will go towards the salary of the youth coordinator as opposed to general youth ministry funds?100% of the donation will go towards the salary/benefits of the coordinator. This specific fund that we are fundraising for is solely to support this position including a pension that is mandated by the Diocese of San Jose. The youth coordinator will be starting at 19 hours a week, but once we reach our goals, the next step would be to elevate the position to full-time which would also increase our fundraising needs.
To the second part of the question, we do have a “general” fund to run Watermark Youth Ministry in addition to a yearly budget that is requested from the Mission. The general fund and the annual budget are completely separate from the Youth Coordinator fund.
- Is the donation tax-deductible?Giving by check or via online donation is tax-deductible through SJCCM’s tax status through the Diocese of San Jose.
- How will this position be sustained in the long run?One of the long term goals for the Watermark Youth Coordinator position is to eventually become a full-time position. Of course, this is largely dependent on SJCCM’s financial ability to support it and we also recognize that there is still more to be done with regard to showing the viability and worth of this position. In short, the measured effectiveness of the position over time will be directly related to its long term sustainability.
To get this position off the ground, we have initiated a broad fundraising effort that includes reaching out to those friends and families outside of SJCCM’s immediate community with the goal of building deeper partnerships both spiritual and financial. We hope to sustain these relationships in part by making Watermark Youth Ministry more transparent so that others can witness the work that God is doing within it and desire to be a part of it either directly or remotely.
Still, the reality is that the feasibility of this position finds its foundation in SJCCM’s financial standing which is actively being strengthened. The SJCCM’s Pastoral Council believes that as we work to strengthen the spiritual foundation of our community and rebuild the areas that have fallen into disrepair, financial blessings will be a byproduct.