Center Grove High School alumnus Greg Matney said he was pretty involved during his high school years, especially in student council. He served as the student body president his senior year but was involved in other roles and capacities as well.
“Other than that, I played tennis, I did marching band for a year, I sometimes joined the Fellowship of Christian athletes in the mornings,” Matney said. “I even did a couple of the school plays. We also had a community service club and through that the student council and I raised two or three thousand dollars for the schools.”
After his time at CGHS, Matney attended Taylor University in Upland, Ind. There he continued his tennis and service-related extracurricular activities.
“I was involved in Leadership Development where I basically helped bring in different speakers on campus. I was also a part of a group called the Taylor Association of Business Students,” Matney said. “I studied business management and minored in economics and political science. I was able to volunteer and participate in a lot of internships that were important parts of my development.”
Since then, Matney has worked with countless businesses and entrepreneurs from all over the world, including Kenya, Haiti, Uganda, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia Hong Kong, China, and finally India. Most recently, he’s been co-directing a program called “Aatma Vikas” which means “self-progress” in Hindi. The program is run via the Central India Christian Mission, which was founded in 1982 and has since provided invaluable aid, training as well as ministry services throughout India.
“I’ve had a lot of unique experiences and I feel very fortunate, especially at such a young age,” Matney said. “Our work (with Aatma Vikas) is essentially vocational training centers in villages – it’s an outreach. We are Christians working with primarily people who are not Christians, and we don’t force them to change faiths but we feel compelled to assist and provide education and opportunities when we can. We try to give them skills that will help them get a job as soon as possible so they can better support their families.”
Matney says Aatma Vikas helps train people how to be tractor/equipment drivers, electricians, how to work in the textile and beautician industries, and various other trades. Matney and his wife, Abhineeta, work in tandem as partners through the whole endeavor and have been living together in India for about five years.
“I would say that if it wasn’t for my faith in Jesus, I probably wouldn’t be doing this work. That compels me and encourages me. Especially when you’re working in such grim circumstances and seeing poverty on a daily basis. That hope that we try to share with the people we work with,” Matney said.
Though Matney and his wife are working daily with people who have been exploited for labor or who have little-to-no education or training, they believe helping these people boosts the local economies and especially confidences on an individual level.
For more information, visit indiamission.org. For the full version of this article, check out the printed version of the Center Grove ICON!