5 women from Cal State East Bay, Mills College and UC Berkeley seeking God's shalom for ourselves, our neighbors, and the city of Oakland.

How to Care for your Friend Coming Home

Dear Friend/Family of a BayUPer,

Thanks so much for partnering with your friend as they participated in BayUP this summer.

I wanted to offer some suggestions to you to help your friend transition back to their lives at home and school. You may be surprised to know that the transition home is often harder than the transition to the new culture of the city. This is because students often come back and have trouble communicating what they learned and experienced. Sometimes they have a hard time finding people to listen to their stories. Sometimes they are overwhelmed by the relative material wealth they return to their lives compared to the poverty that they saw in the middle of Oakland.

As their friend, it is good for you to be aware that the transition home can at times be difficult. This can help you set appropriate expectations for your friendship in the first few months after they have returned home. And there are some ways that you can help your friend make the transition back home:

1. Talk to your friend before they return. What would they like their first week to be like
when they get home (they may not know for sure, but talking about it doesn’t hurt!).

2. If you are picking them up from the project, remember that they are coming off of an
intense summer emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. THEY ARE TIRED.
They may not be up for an immediate welcome home party, or all the relatives to
descend on the house, or dinner out. Most likely they will want a shower and some
sleep. Ask them what they would prefer. They will appreciate your warm welcome.

3. If you are not meeting them at the airport or picking them up, a card waiting for them at home or a phone call the day after their return is a great way to let them know you are glad they are home.

4. The thing your friend will most need from you is your listening ear! They want
to tell the story of their summer, but often find it hard to know where to begin. The
question “How was your summer?” can be hard to answer because it is such a broad
question. Asking LOTS of specific questions is the best way to find out what the
summer was like. Here are some examples:

What was a typical day like?
What was your favorite thing about your summer experience?
What was the hardest thing about your summer experience?
What was the thing that was most interesting to you about the culture you were
What is different about how people relate to each other here compared to the
culture you were in this summer?
What was the funniest or most embarrassing thing that happened to you.
What was the food like? What did you enjoy? Dislike?
What was your team like? Who were the people you were closest too?
How were your expectations about your summer met or not met?
What did you learn about yourself? About others? About God?
What are some ways you want to apply what you learned now that you are
How does it feel to be home? What did you most miss about home?
What do you miss about your summer culture now that you are home?

5. You don’t have to ask all these questions at once! Consider having a couple of
extended times (at least) with your friend where you ask questions about the summer.
Maybe once shortly after their return, then again when the pictures are developed (if
they are not already on a digital camera!)

6. Periodically ask how they are thinking and feeling about their summer and how they are applying what they have learned throughout the fall semester.

7. Some other fun things you could consider:

If your friend learned to prepare any traditional food from their summer culture,
have a night where they make dinner (or at least one dish!) for you.
Look through whatever souvenirs your friend returned with and ask questions
about them: were they given as a gift? by whom? what was that relationship
like? If it wasn’t’ a gift, what prompted them to buy this particular souvenir?
Invite other friends of yours and your BAyUP friend to hear about the summer.
Consider hosting a little dessert and let your friend tell his or her story and show
some pictures to a group of people.

8. It is ok to remind your friend that you had a summer too! Life in your world did not stop
just because they were on a summer project. Tell them about your summer …

9. Your friend may seem weird or respond to situations differently than they did before
they left. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the changes you notice. Let them
know you want to care for them while at the same time giving them the freedom to
change and grow.

1. Help them to re-engage with their friends on campus and their responsibilities in classes
and with InterVarsity by helping them brainstorm ways to integrate their summer
experience into what they are doing now.

10. Most of all, continue to pray for and with your friend. Encourage them to take time for reflection and to be with Jesus.

The most important thing is just to be patient and ask a lot of questions. Returning home is often as much a part of the growth process as the summer at BAyUP. I believe the Lord is using all of these experiences to make your friend more like Him. Thanks again for blessing your BAyUP friend with your prayers, support and encouragement. May you also be blessed.


Yu-Shuan Tarango-Sho
BayUP Director

Sponsor a kid with school gear!

Hi friends,

Katrina, Christina, and I are making efforts to request in-kind donations from different stores like Old Navy, The North Face, and Target to donate either $50 gift cards or backpacks for the new school year. But alas getting in contact to speak with someone about donating items to our Children Learning Center is like jumping through hoops of fire.

It’s a frustrating process, but we refuse to give up. This is our last week here and so we wanted to help Lisa, per her request, to gather materials. So I thought I could reach out to our friends and families for support or for ideas on how to provide these materials to our 16 youth by the beginning of August.

Our kids age range is from 4-18 years old. We want our kids to feel appreciated and valued to receive new materials. We feel that is important to show they are worth being invested in.

You can contact me (Silvia) by phone (818-923-8815) or email: Silvia_kim@ivstaff.org if you would like to contribute.

Much love and appreciation,

Silvia, Katrina, Christina

P.S. THANK YOU FOR THOSE WHO SHOWED UP TO OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS DAY! If you missed out, here’s a short 7 min video that we made for the night: http://vimeo.com/45768533

Painting our napkins!

Painting our eco-friendly napkins

Instead of buying disposable napkins we painted these cloth napkins to use to be more environmentally friendly! :)

Video Update!

Hi folks!

Please click the following link to see a brief video of our orientation week!


We’ve arrived!

Thank you for getting us here! We’ve arrived and are having fun getting to know each other :)

Tune in for more!

Send us love letters | Save the Date 7/14

Save the Date | Saturday, July 14 

Friends & family are welcome to spend the whole day with us on Saturday, July 14th following a program night starting at 7 pm at ReGeneration Church (238 E.15th St., Oakland). You are welcome to bring us snacks/food but you are not allowed to spend money on us on the day of—we are trying to live out the value of simplicity! 

Love letters <3

If you would like to send us mail please forward them to:

2626 E.16th St. #B
Oakland, CA 94601

Welcome BayUP partners!

Hello! We’re so excited to have you journey with us for the next 6 weeks as we learn and live among the urban poor to understand God’s heart for the city of Oakland. Here we will post our thoughts, prayers, and musings so you can keep track with what’s going on with us!

If you would like to read up on an individual or the team feel free to read our personal entries to your right. 

Please keep in mind that we are limited in our responses back as we only have 1 hour a week to be connected with friends and family. Sounds constricting? Perhaps, but it’s also a way to teach us how to be fully present with our service work and community :) So please be patient with us—we will definitely welcome time with loved ones to process about our BayUP experience once our program is finished. 

Peace and lots of love,

East Bay Ladies of BayUP
Christina Williams, Katrina Mayol, Jessica Lopez, Selina Lopez, & Silvia Kim 

P.S. We’re still in the process of fundraising so if you would like to support us financially please go to https://donate.intervarsity.org/ and type in any one of our names.