The Center for Sharing is a hospitality and training institute for Vista Hermosa Foundation, with a focus on the theory and practice of servant leadership development, trauma informed care and an empowered worldview within the context of specific community settings. In this way we seek to practice Vista Hermosa Foundation’s theory of change which nurtures healing and growth towards spiritual wellbeing within flourishing communities. The Center is housed within the Collegium, located in East Pasco in the heart of the Tierra Vida community.
Life at the Collegium centers around the Collegium Café which through its work-study/readiness and evening programs, practices the welcoming of strangers, evoking of gifts and giving people opportunities to come together in service of common cause. The Cafe features a small deli of freshly prepared foods and specialized coffees served Monday-Friday as well as space and in house catering for meetings, baby showers, birthday parties and other events of interest to the community. Space can be rented on weekends as well as weekdays. For more information on rentals, you can contact Rachel Gaddam, who manages the Café.
As a faith-based, not for profit, we were founded in 1986, on the belief that all people are created in God’s image, and destined to become partners with God in caring for the world. The Center started out with outreach ministries amongst vulnerable people groups such as alienated youth, abused women, the poor, and immigrants. We noticed that although we could help out with housing, clothing, school fees, etc., often there was no sustainable change. We discovered that for that to happen, a mindset change would be needed, from the inside out: I am either a victim, or I am a child of God. We discovered that the answer to that question needed to start with we who felt called to work with the needy! So in 1995, we held our first nine-month servant leadership development course with 27 participants. We re-organized our ministries around mission groups of those feeling called to work with specific people groups. Along the way, we have learned that due to the pain of trauma and its resulting disconnection, most people find themselves unable to claim their God-given gifts and place of leadership.
When people do not feel safe or seen as precious, they find it nearly impossible to enter into the newness that God is continually calling us towards. Servant leadership is a philosophy dedicated to serving the highest needs of others around the following test: “are those being served growing, becoming wiser, freer, healthier, more able to take care of themselves, more likely to serve others”?
Jesus said, “I (the leader) am amongst you as one who serves.” In order to help people feel safe, we offer spaces of welcome and hospitality in which individuals and groups can explore connections of meaning and purpose in service of the common good. We are part of a growing global movement made up of small groups and large organizations of all kinds who are committed to the principle that all people are made in God’s image and therefore worthy of respect, with a unique part to play in caring for the whole of creation.
Several years ago, CFS helped birth an association that members named “Partners in Authentic Community.” Known as PAC, this association currently includes six communities: 4 in the U.S, 1 in Mexico and 1 in the Philippines. Each community shares the commitment to live out common principles such as: 1) shared leadership 2) special attention to the marginalized 3) authority around gifts and call in place-based settings…
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this: “Any community who allows unemployed people to remain within it will eventually perish because of them.” When individuals are not able to contribute their God-given gifts, they suffer spiritual disconnection resulting in a loss of belonging, and with it, meaning and purpose. The community suffers also. Hence, our work is focused on those feeling disconnected, in particular. Within safe, compassionate, gift-evoking communities, they can and do recover their sense of belonging, belovedness and purpose. Many go on to become agents of change wherever they serve.