Potomac Conference

Story by Michele Joseph

As a school psychologist and the lay pastor of Liberty Mission Seventh-day Adventist Church in Washington, D.C., Donald Ross always looks for ways to connect with people. 

Teaching Against Rage and Guns while Embracing Talents and Social Skills—called T.A.R.G.E.T.S.S.  —  was created to do just that for students whose environment leaves them a witness to gun violence. 

Through this program, he and his team—which includes his wife, home-based business owner Karen, and Maria Williams, the church Community Services director —give teens tools to build a better life.

In December, the church held its second graduation for the six-week course, which is funded by a city mini grant.

Zaida Galva with Pastor Tim Harley at Shenandoah Valley Academy

Story by Zaida Galva (’24)

I can definitely say coming to Shenandoah Valley Academy (SVA) was a God-worked plan. My name is Zaida Galva, and I am a senior from New York City, a place where you are confronted with lots of challenges on a daily basis. City life is extremely fast-paced, and you never really have a chance to establish deep relationships with those around you. That all changed when I arrived at SVA.

Editorial, Potomac Conference, Sherilyn O'Ffill, ‘Look Up at the Sky’

Editorial by Sherilyn O'Ffill, Associate Youth Director, Potomac Conference

At the age of 16, I became a staff member at Georgia Cumberland Conference’s Cohutta Springs Camp, and later at Northern California Conference’s Leoni Meadows Camp. Because of the positive influence summer camp had on me as a child, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others too. While enjoying my staff roles, which included a kitchen worker, a counselor, the girls’ director and the assistant director, what inspired me the most was being mentored by other staff members. In turn, I learned how to mentor my campers—especially Mary.

Story by Samuel Girven ('25)

A growing crowd milled around me, exchanging greetings and hugs—signs of friend groups reuniting. I sat alone in the lobby of Twomley Hall at Shenandoah Valley Academy (SVA). It was handshake day, and I was a new student.

Several days earlier, I moved from my native Michigan, met by the heat and humidity of Virginia, to attend SVA. It was an abrupt change from how I had envisioned my last two years of high school.