CCO staff member Linda Ference reaches out to students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in partnership with Graystone Presbyterian Church. Before joining CCO staff, Linda worked as an individual and family therapist, and as an adjunct college professor. Linda has also been a mother for 31 years.
I first heard about the CCO through good friends, TJ and Julie Fairchild, who own the Commonplace Coffeehouse in Indiana, Pennsylvania. When they started partnering with the CCO and hiring staff members to work in the shop and minister to IUP students, they invited me and my husband to help them interview potential staff. They also told me that if I ever wanted a job, they’d hire me too.
I decided to take them up on their offer, and found that my work in the coffee shop provided creative opportunities for me to continue using my gifts as a therapist. I loved interacting with students and faculty members from the university who came in every day. When I saw the kind of support and supervision my Commonplace co-workers were receiving from the CCO, I accepted the invitation to interview with the CCO myself.
Everything I have done in the past professionally—teaching, therapy, and a year and a half of overseas mission work—has prepared me to do campus ministry. I now work with the CCO in a partnership with Graystone Presbyterian Church, and I still spend time with students at the Commonplace. I receive excellent supervision from both the CCO and the church.
The CCO has helped me find a place where I fit and has encouraged me to use my gifts in ways that no other job has ever allowed me to do. It’s a place where I have felt welcomed and appreciated, and where I can really make a difference in students’ lives.