Track: CCDA Principles
Presenter: Steve Park
Steve Park immigrated to the United States from South Korea at the age of 7. A devout atheist in high school and college, Steve converted to Christianity after coming to recognize radical compassion of Jesus following a difficult experience taking drugs after college.
Steve founded Little Lights Urban Ministries in 1995 after meeting underserved children and youth near his parents’ business in NW, DC. Starting with no funds and no experience, he has grown the organization to 14- full-time, 40 part-time staff, and over 600 volunteers per year giving more than 9000 volunteer hours annually while maintain a Christ-centered focus. Little Lights hires over 20 residents from underserved communities.
Little Lights focuses on three public housing complexes, Potomac Gardens, Hopkins, and Benning Terrace, where the average annual income for families is $11,000 to $14,000. Little Lights provides high quality after-school and summer programs, adult and employment programs, Christian mentoring and Bible studies, and also a landscaping business, called the Clean Green Team that employs returning citizens from the community. He also teaches the Race Literacy 101 class, now available virtually, that helps Christians understand the history of racial ideology and systemic racism and how it connects to our faith and God’s heart for justice.
He has two children, Dylan and Kayla, ages 15 and 17 and has been married 19 years to Mary Park, who serves alongside Steve as the Deputy Director of Little Lights. Steve won the Gelman, Rosenberg, and Freedman EXCEL award in 2010 for Non-profit Executive Management and the John Thompson Legacy of a Dream Award from Georgetown University in 2018. He also currently serves on the board of Christian Community Development Association as the Treasurer. He is also one of the founders of DC Unity and Justice Fellowship, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to racial unity and justice in the Body of Christ especially in the DC area.
Twitter handle: @steveparkdc
Instagram handle: steve.park.dc
Org Website: www.littlelights.org