Katrina Bitar, a past SOYO member, SOYO officer, Parish Youth Director, and recent graduate of St. Vladimir's Seminary, was appointed, with the blessing of Metropolitan PHILIP, by the Department of Youth Ministry, effective May 17, 2009, as the new Executive Director of OYO - Orthodox Youth Outreach . OYO is a ministry of NAC Teen SOYO. Katrina comes to this ministry with much youth and OYO experience. Katrina writes:
"I believe in the power of this ministry because I, myself, am a product of this program. I participated in the very first OYO trip. I plan to continue to serve Orthodox Christian young people through not only leading short-term mission trips, but also helping parishes to establish consistent commitments to serving the poor and needy in their local communities.
"I have loved and served Teen SOYO in various capacities ever since I was a member myself. It is through the ministry of Orthodox Youth Outreach that I hope to put my experience to action and make myself available to young people of all Orthodox Christian jurisdictions. My experience as a full-time youth director and my most recent experience at St. Vladimir’s Seminary have sharpened my pastoral and teaching tools and I feel refreshed and ready to continue serving our youth through leading them in service to the poor.
"The ministry of OYO is not only necessary, but incredibly fruitful. I believe that this program has transformed the lives of all who have participated in it because it is simple, Gospel living. It is because of the way I have seen the OYO experience affect all participants and heard the testimonies of the youth themselves that I deeply desire to give myself to the work of this program. Through nationwide trips, parish visits, and most importantly, consistent relationships with the students, the ultimate goal of my ministry would be to raise up active leaders in the church who will lead others in living out its true mission- to preach the gospel through love of the needy neighbor.
"OYO is absolutely necessary for the continued existence of the church. The students are the future, and OYO helps the students realize this and make them want to fight for a future not only for Orthodox Christians, but also for the world.
"Through OYO, students come to see their place in the church and the world. I look forward to this opportunity to serve them through this program, that they may be empowered to embrace their own faith and become ambassadors for Christ today."
We welcome Katrina to our staff and look forward to her contribution to youth ministry.