Mission Work at UCOM

Service in Action

As a small non-profit with big aspirations, UCOM has always relied on assistance from our wonderful volunteer groups. From our supporting churches, to local high school and university students, to our friends, neighbor, and clients, UCOM's commitment to volunteer engagement runs deep.  Recently UCOM decided to open our doors to another set of potential volunteers: Mission and Youth Groups. Over the past three years UCOM has been thrilled to host over a dozen different youth groups from as close as Big Rapids Michigan and as far as Ellington Connecticut. 

If your group is interested in a service trip to UCOM and West Michigan, feel free to look over some of the guidelines and other pieces listed below. If you decide UCOM is the right place for your group, please contact us and let us know of your intended dates and other details and we will work with you to help make sure your trip is a great experience for everyone involved.

Basic Info

Work Needed:  Projects for Mission Groups are built around the interests and skills of the volunteer groups.  Some typical projects performed by Mission Groups at UCOM incorporate work in one or more of the following areas and are needed on a regular basis:  gardening/landscaping, repair, maintenance and painting of the building (inside and/or outside); warehousing product; rotating inventory; personal shopping; bulk food repackaging; filing; data entry; sorting gently used clothing; artwork; photography; and many other operations and support activities.

Time:  UCOM can utilize groups from 5 to 30 during any season though summer months make for more diversity of activities.  The trip should be scheduled with our program director (who also coordinates the volunteers) at least one month prior to arrival time.

Group Size:  5 to 30

Minimum Age:  12 years 

Adult to Youth Ratio:  Minimum 1:6

Conditions: Depending on the size of the group.  UCOM can provide on-site comfortable space for 20 people with sleeping bags provided groups don’t mind sleeping on floors.  UCOM has four bathrooms, but only two showers. Groups staying at UCOM will be asked to make a minimum donation of $10 per person per night to help cover costs associated with the trip. UCOM can provide on-site communal meals for $5 per meal per person. In the event that your group chooses not to stay at UCOM our supporting churches are generally very generous both with "church sleeping spaces" and occasionally, individual congregants willing to take UCOM volunteers into their homes.  In the past local universities have also housed groups working with us, however those arrangements are up to individual groups to complete.

Educational Components: UCOM's executive director is an ordained minister and former adjunct professor for Samaritan College.  He is willing to work with group leaders to customize an education/worship experience that involves group leaders and volunteers to whatever extent they wish to be involved.  Staff and supportive area clergy are a willing resource to these programs at UCOM. UCOM collaborates with more than 20 service agencies and 16 UCC congregations that are willing to showcase how this work fits into the wider justice picture in great Grand Rapids.