Ethan Godby grew up in a family of church planters moving around more times than he can count. He assisted with youth group, watching kids, and whatever else his parents needed from him. At the time,he didn’t realize these experiences would prepare him for his role as the Kanawha Dreamers Family Resource Center Coordinator VISTA.
His family moved to Charleston, West Virginia to help plant and revitalize churches when he was about 8 years old , and ultimately settled in the area when he was around ten years old. Church has always been a huge part of his life. After graduating high school in 2014, Ethan attended Appalachian Bible College to study Choral Music and Biblical Studies. The following year, he worked at The Springs Ministries, a camp in Michigan. During this time, he realized that while he loves music, this was no longer the path for him.
He wanted to continue to work with children, and help them in any way he could. He came back home to help his family, and started helping with a local church plant, Risen City Church. He was helping with youth group one evening, and one of his church leaders mentioned he was looking for an AmeriCorps member and Ethan was instantly interested. He applied and started his service. AmeriCorps members are allowed to serve four terms, Ethan served double terms and completed his service in only two years. Not yet finished with the work, he went on to become a VISTA in a similar role.
Ethan’s service includes pointing people in the direction of resources they might need, helping with the Risen City Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Care program and Food Pantry, and mentoring youth. The service has its challenges as well, the pay is not fantastic, which makes it hard, but the real draw is the difference you see in your own community, so though the role has not always been easy, it has certainly been rewarding.
"If you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself, help people and kids, or are searching for a meaningful opportunity, you should do it," he said. He has watched children grow from being troubled youths, to happy and active community members, and he is glad to have played a role in that.
Ethan has found that growing up in a church planting family and moving around, helping people, and
guiding others was incredibly helpful to the journey he is on now. Even when he was younger, he found that the people who need help will find him and that has made all the difference as he serves in AmeriCorps. He said, "I guess it was just always in my blood," of helping others, especially kids. His favorite thing about his service opportunity is seeing kids’ faces light up when they see him. Ethan is vibrant, and passionate about what he is doing. As he talks about the kids he has helped, you can see his eyes open wider and get a little brighter.
He cares about what he is doing and doesn't want it to end. Which is why, after his service he would like to go back to school and get his bachelor’s degree, then his master’s in something related to counseling so he can go on to become a Christian counselor and help as many more kids and adults as he can.
Though his service is coming to an end, there is no doubt in my mind Ethan’s service to his community will continue.