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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Save Our Streets Ministries to celebrate 30 years of assisting local families

Photo by Via Save our Ministries/Facebook

Save Our Streets Ministries, a nonprofit that aims to help low-income families, is celebrating 30 years in October.

Save Our Streets Ministries, or SOS, is preparing to celebrate 30 years of serving low-income families in Bryan-College Station.

SOS Ministries started nearly three decades ago in October of 1993, and supports individuals of all ages by teaching children and providing support in times of crisis. According to their website, their purpose is to dedicate their time and talent to “raise up, equip and empower others to ‘Save Our Streets.’” SOS offers weekly events, such as worship services, men’s and women’s bible studies, vocational training and after-school programs, along with teen and children’s ministry.

Allison Dirks, the SOS children’s ministry director, oversees the kinder-6th grade program.

“The vision is that we would meet people where they are at, whether they are bound by drugs, alcohol, living in poverty or kids that have been victims of abuse and bring them the hope that is Jesus,” Dirks said. “Because what we found, apart from Jesus, there is no hope outside of that trauma or addiction.” 

Dirks said the involvement the volunteers have with the children is pivotal because they are the ones who make a positive impact on the child.

“Once they know our heart and know we care, then they will hear us,” Dirks said. “They will be able to see that the way we interact with each other looks so much different than anything they have ever seen.” 

Dirks said the organization’s founder, J.J. Ramirez, went from hosting men’s Bible studies in his home to creating a women’s ministry with the SOS assistant director. With the arrival of children in those families, a children’s ministry was created. Now, over 200 kids come through their doors, Dirks said.

“Monday nights, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., we take buses and pick up kids and bring them to the building and do Bible study, crafts, games and worship,” Dirks said. “We had to limit the number of kids we could pick up this past semester because we didn’t have the manpower to do it.”

The admin assistant, Jenna Modi-Riojas, has been involved with SOS for 10 years and said the organization changed her life. Modi-Riojas said she was self-medicating with alcohol in 2013.

“I was a single mom at the time, struggling financially and all around,” Modi-Riojas said. “My mother was also battling cancer.”

Modi-Riojas said she credits her Bible study leader at SOS for persistently supporting her through trying times. She said SOS is like a family because they stood by her during both her lowest and highest moments.

“In March, I was done with drinking and called out to the Lord,” Modi-Riojas said. “I went back to SOS, and the [bible study group] welcomed me with loving arms just like they did when I first met them.”

Natalie Lancaster, a children’s ministry intern, said the organization is a positive way to give back to the people in the community.

“We can make a difference in college,” Lancaster said. “It doesn’t have to wait till we graduate to go make an impact on the world.”

SOS hosts an annual event to reach locals and gather community support for their mission. On Oct. 3, SOS will be hosting the 22nd annual Revival Banquet from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the SOS Ministries Center. 

Dirks said Ramirez had a visionary approach for the banquet. She said the event is an opportunity for attendees to witness signs, miracles and wonders. 

Dirks said guests — including local business owners, lawyers, doctors and community members — will come together over a catered meal to hear inspirational guest speakers. Their hope is to bring a positive transformation to the city, she said.

“They get to hear the gospel and the heart of SOS,” Dirks said.

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