This week’s ministry assistant spotlight features fellow blog contributor Janelle Collazo. She serves as Swift Creek’s Preschool and Children’s Events Director (which you may have picked up on when you noticed a lot of her blogs talk about children’s ministry...weird..) and she and her husband (Pastor Trevor) have attended Swift Creek since 2009 with their three boys, Zac, Derek, and Aiden.
Janelle works at Swift Creek full-time overseeing infant through kindergarten connect groups, coordinating childcare, and planning all children’s events, including Fall Festival, VBS, Mom’s Morning Out, and many more!
Growing up, Janelle always wanted to be a teacher. She went from playing teacher with her stuffed animals to earning a degree in early childhood education, but after almost three years in the classroom and some time staying at home with Zac, God dropped the job at Swift Creek in her lap. Today, she says she would never want to be back in the classroom. “God has given me those experiences to help the teachers connect with the kids and teach the material, but it’s so cool how he’s changed my desires to match what I’m doing as the director.”
One of the most rewarding parts of the job for Janelle is how she gets to minister to parents. “I feel good about being able to put on an event where I can ensure safety and security and a good environment for the kids knowing that their parents are able to get out and do something.”
She also loves the opportunities she gets to connect the church with what is happening in children’s ministry. After this year’s VBS, Janelle recalls her experience creating follow-up bags for children who didn’t have a home church. “It was one of those things I had dreamed up in my mind and thought, ‘Can this actually work, how is this going to go?’”
Eighty bags were made and divided up based on neighborhood for people to pick up on their way out of church and drop off on their way home. “It was a really cool visual to see all the bags laid out, and knowing we can be part of going back to them and saying, ‘We want you here, we’d love to see you again,’ and then the church stepping up and helping to make that happen. It was encouraging.”
In her time outside of work, Janelle spends time with her family staying active outdoors and exploring new places and cultures. “I love getting to know people and seeing their stories. I’m such an introvert that I’m not the first to connect with people, but once I do I want to know more about them.”
She and Pastor Trevor have a date once a week during the school year to try a new restaurant and coffee shop in Richmond. They haven’t run out of places to try yet, but they’ve found some obscure and interesting places. (Speaking from personal experience, if you need a good recommendation I think you know who to ask!)