Sharon Church: Reaching Out to Young and Old Through Education

The Sharon Church in Portland, Ore., is making a difference in the surrounding community. All because three years ago Heather Hawkins saw a need and stepped into the gap. The tutoring program she initiated is now known as P.E.T.A.L. — Preparing, Education, Teaching and Learning — and it has found a niche in the community. P.E.T.A.L. tutors work with students from kindergarten through high school as well as those working on GED preparation and résumé enrichment.

In addition, P.E.T.A.L. sponsors two subgroups. Reflecting Inner Beauty and Toolbox are groups geared toward young men and women ages 12–19. The teens learn what it means to be a virtuous person. Mentors provide an atmosphere where spiritual and emotional topics can be discussed and questions and concerns voiced. Physical appearance is also approached. Drechelle Larry and Kevin McCray have partnered with two licensed cosmetologists to demonstrate techniques for hair care, skin care and hygiene.

On Nov.14, 2009, the P.E.T.A.L. program was awarded a $3,500 grant from the Oregon Conference Humanitarian Fund. The fund is used to help make programs and projects like P.E.T.A.L. a reality for churches that want to bridge the gap between their pews and their streets.

More information on P.E.T.A.L. is available at

January 01, 2010 / Oregon Conference