On Tuesday afternoon 23-year-old Ricardo Aguilar played a game of basketball with some students at Maple Crest Middle School.
That’s part of his new routine.
He works with Bridges Outreach kids four afternoons every week helping them with homework, teaching them Spanish or just hanging out and being a role model.
“I like working with the kids,” he said.
But in the three weeks he’s been in Kokomo, he’s left his footprint all over the city.
Sunday he loaded boxes of canned food onto trucks during the Yes, We Can food drive for the Kokomo Rescue Mission.
He can often be found teaching kids in impoverished neighborhoods how to play soccer – something he enjoys as much as they do.
“It’s a win-win,” he said.
But God led him to Kokomo for one special project, he said.
Aguilar, who was born in Ecuador, is the first intern with the new K-Serve program.
The program aims to train people from all over the country in urban ministries. It’s modeled after similar ministries in Indianapolis, Chicago, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Students pay to come spend either 10 weeks or nine months in Kokomo to do mission work and gain experience for their careers or find their true calling, said Travis Taflinger, one of the K-Serve creators.
The summer program focuses on youth ministry. People in the program work with children at Bridges Outreach and Kokomo Urban Outreach.
Aguilar chose the nine-month program. It’s tailored to play to his strengths.
He graduated in May from Georgia’s Toccoa Falls College with a degree in counseling and psychology. He spent the next three months working at a summer camp in Florida.
But as the camp came to an end, he started looking for internships that would allow him to stay in the United States on his work visa.