In a little blue house on the south side of Waco, junior Rachel Wells can find everything she needs.
Wells leads Baylor Urban Missions’ Kate Ross Tutorials team. She and others visit the Blue House at Kate Ross Apartment Complex, assisting neighborhood children with education and other practical needs.
“There’s three different rooms in the Blue House: the middle school, the elementary school and the preschool. We focus on educational stuff,” Wells said. “It’s about teaching them life skills.”
Wells and other students arrive at the Blue House at 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays, greeted by regular attendees.
“Kids just wait outside until it opens,” Wells said. “They’re lined up, waiting to get in.”
Once the door opens, everyone steps inside for games and educational activities in a safe environment.
“We have lots of games and volunteers who help with homework or just play,” Wells said. “It’s just a place to hang out and to be a kid.”
Wells uses her time in the Blue House to work on personal development.
“We’re writing poetry and all sorts of silly things,” Wells said. “It all opens doors to talk about things that matter. They like rap, so we’re writing raps, and we get to talking about values and the kind of life we’re going to live.”
Wells is in her third year at Kate Ross. Freshman Ellie David, a member of the Kate Ross Tutorials team, sees the impact of Wells’ commitment.
“The kids really trust Rachel a lot. You can see them coming out of their shells and even trying more in school, now that she helps them,” David said. “They know we’re committed to them, so they’re committed to doing better.”
During her first two years at Baylor, Wells served with Kate Ross Kids’ Club, another Baylor Urban Missions team working in the neighborhood.
“At Kids’ Club, it’s a ton of fun, and you’re all playing and having a good time, but it’s hard to get emotionally connected and form those really tight relationships,” Wells said.
Wells served as Kids’ Club’s student leader during the fall of her sophomore year. After returning from a study-abroad program that spring, she was presented with a new chance for ministry by Carole Meriwether, Urban Missions coordinator.
“We talked it through, and the new team she told me I’d start leading was going to go to the same kids. But it was going to be a completely different environment,” Wells said. “That was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to invest in the kids more and be deeper with them.”
With Wells as student leader, the Kate Ross Tutorials team was created this fall. Wells, a University Scholars major concentrating on math, now combines her passion with her desire to serve.
“I do want to inspire them to love school. I love math, but they don’t have to love math,” Wells said. “They just have to love something they want to pursue.”
Wells’ passion for the well-being of the children at Kate Ross also makes her an effective team leader, according to Meriwether.
“She’s able to teach her team why she serves. She is excited and expresses that to her teammates, and they catch that vision,” Meriwether said. “Rachel’s definitely one of our leaders who’s just really connected with the people she’s serving.”
Investment in the children at Kate Ross is a common thread.
“I love being able to get to know people who are just as passionate about serving people,” Wells said. “I love the community we get to form.”
After an hour at the Blue House, Wells and her team step out until the next Tuesday. As they return home, she takes the chance to reflect on the team’s common passion.
“Every day on our drive back to Baylor, we share stories. Everyone just lights up,” Wells said. “The joy of investing in those kids is just unlike anything else.”
Wells works with a student at Kate Ross on a Tuesday afternoon.