|Zack (right) prays with two visiting youth group members at Evans Plaza during the daily Prayer Drive|
Zack Cartmel is a returning intern - this is his 3rd summer on Intern Staff! Zack graduated from TCU this year, and plans to return to his home state of Colorado this fall to obtain his masters in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. This summer, Zack is in charge of our math curriculum, helping ensure that our kids' are building on skills they learned last school year and preparing them for success in the fall. He also helps lead Urban Experience each afternoon for our visiting youth groups.
Zack discovered Fortress through TCU LEAPS (a community volunteer day) and liked the idea of becoming a mentor. Through IGNITE, he volunteered once a week, visiting with his mentee, helping him with homework, playing basketball and XBox, and sometimes even taking him on off-campus field trips. The following semester, he continued mentoring, but also came on staff as our Bible Enrichment teacher.
One of his favorite memories happened one day last week when we had a Fear Factor party at Fortress. Zack's job was to have the kids try and guess different flavors of baby food. The kids were disgusted all around!
Zack's advice for new volunteers at Fortress is simple: Don't worry about being friends with the kids; be their example and discipline them to earn their respect.
When asked if he has experienced anything that made him certain that he is where God intends for him to be, Zack recalled a conversation he had recently with Omar. The second grader told him that his favorite part of the day is singing songs in worship. The hardest part about being an intern for Zack is maintaining patience with the kids. Caring for our kids here is exhausting as much as it is rewarding, but we know that our interns come out of the experience with profound life skills and a diligent spirit.
We're so grateful for college students like Zack who pour their hearts and souls into this ministry. It absolutely could not happen without them!