Marissa Wilterink — Operations and Volunteer Coordinator

Started Volunteering 2011, Full-Time 2013

With Urban Mountain Adventures, I often see volunteers who are drawn to us for the adventure but stay for the relationship - they may love the idea of taking young people on outdoor adventure trips but once they get plugged in and meet the kids, they'll often stick around for years because of the relationships they've formed. This was sort of the beginning of my story with the ministry as well. I first heard about UMA in 2011 at a time in life where I was looking for a little adventure myself! I remember being so excited to pour love into the lives of children and watch them attempt new outdoor adventures that they'd never dreamed of trying, it didn't take long to realize that being a part of this ministry was going to be (and already was) life changing. 

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The more I began forming relationships with the girls and their families, the more I felt my heart drawn to this community. It only took a couple years before I moved into the neighborhood where our ministry is based, not to bring change but because this neighborhood had already begun changing me in beautiful ways. My heart was drawn to the ways that this community and it's people challenged my ideas of comfort and security. When my neighbors didn't look like me and didn't have stories like mine, I could ask questions and listen. I could ask questions and learn. As a result, relationships deepened. It's been over 7 years since I first was introduced to UMA through watching a news clip about this ministry and today I call this community and it's people 'home'. I began working full time for UMA in 2013 and if you ask me now, “what is my favorite part of the job?” I won't start with the adventure trips but I will say it's the adventure that these relationships have brought into my life.

Thank you for your support and for reading this blog! We would love to hear your WHY! Why do you love UMA? Why do you give, serve, follow, or volunteer? Help us celebrate our 10 year anniversary by tagging @urbanmoutainadventures in you “MY WHY” on Facebook or Instagram! If we can get enough we would love to put together a compilation video!

If you enjoyed this story, would you consider giving to continue our ministry? You can give towards our $20,000 fundraiser here!


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