Kids Hope USA is a mentoring program partnered with local schools. Volunteers spend 1 hour a week with 1 student for 1 school year and make eternal investments into these kid's lives.
Here are some of the stories and ways God has moved through this program.
As this school year comes to an end, I am reflecting on how God has moved at Edgewood Elementary. A year ago, Jenna and I sat down and began to plan how Life Change Church would develop a Kids Hope program and begin working with our students who were most in need of a positive adult relationship. From the very beginning of this partnership, we saw God’s hand at work. Every piece of the puzzle just began to supernaturally fall into place. I shared our plans with the superintendent and he too was instantly on board. Through Jenna’s hard work and dedication to reaching our community, our plans for this mentoring program came together by the beginning of the following school year. Our school team sat down and spent several hours discussing which kids needed this program the most. While we easily had over 30 kids that would benefit from a mentor, we ended that meeting with a list of 8 kids we knew absolutely needed this the most. These were kids that were in foster care, had incarcerated parents, parents addicted to drugs, or coming from broken homes and living in poverty. A few days later, Jenna contacted me with the list of adults that had signed up to mentor. God showed up in the way only He can and to my surprise we had exactly 8 amazing individuals who heard and responded to God’s call for them to become mentors! Prayerfully, I sat down and asked God to help me match the adults I had never met with kids I knew so very well. It wasn’t until months later I realized God answered this prayer and made the perfect match between these kids and their mentors. By mid-October, all the mentors had been trained and were ready to start meeting their kids. Two weeks prior to the start day I started telling each of the kids that they had been selected to have a very special person the would be their “person” and would come to school once a week to spend some time with just them. Every day for the next two weeks I had those kids coming to me to ask if today was the day their “special person” would be coming. They were so excited! Throughout the year, I was blessed to watch these relationships grow and the impact it was having on these kids. They felt loved, valued, and built confidence all because one person was speaking life into them. There were several instances when one of these children was going through a crisis in their lives. I was able to reach out to their mentor or Jenna and thanks to the team and the prayer partners we were able to surround these kids with prayer and watch God touch their lives. It is so very difficult to put into the words how one hour a day, one day a week can have such a tremendous impact on the life of a child. I am eternally grateful for the time and dedication the mentors, prayer partners, Jenna, and our church body have put into Kids Hope. Because of this, we have opened the door to allow God to move in our schools. While this year has been a huge success, there is so much more work to be done and so many more kids that we need to reach. Matthew 9:36-38: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” I pray that the Lord continues to move on the hearts of our church body and we are able to expand this program in the coming year. God Bless, Sephram Raymond Assistant Principal Edgewood Elementary School
I went into Kids Hope just hoping to have fun with a student who may need another mentor figure in their life. It didn’t take me long to realize how much hurt and suffering a child can go through, even at that young of an age. When I first met Evin I was nervous.. would he like me? What’s his background like? Will we bond? I remember the first time we sat down together, he was a little shy and hesitant, until we had our moment. We were about 30 minutes into our 20 questions game when he told me he was in foster care. I told him that’s okay and I accepted him for it, and I’ll never forget the smile that was on his face. From there on, week after week was just another blessing. Some weeks we just played games and hung out, baseball, basketball, card games, drawing.. other weeks he had some things on his mind and we got to a trust point where he would become open with me and we would talk about anything and everything troubling him. There’s only one person who can form a relationship so strong between a 12 year old child and a 26 year old, and that is God. God brought Evin and I together, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that. Watching Evin grow in this program, watching myself grow in this program, and watching God work through both of us has been such a blessing. I’ve seen Evin grow from a shy, kinda quiet kid to an awesome, outspoken, intelligent kid. I myself am not the only person to notice, I’ve had teachers, faculty, even the Superintendent of the school comment on how much Evins attitude has changed and how much better he is doing this year with being in the Kids Hope program. Praise God for that! But what God has taught me through Evin is this, through one small sacrifice you can be blessed forever. I spent 1 hour, of one day, every week with Evin. And I have memories that will last a lifetime with him. 1 hour, every week, and God has forever changed Evins life and my life. All these kids want is to feel accepted, and who better for them to feel accepted by than the love of our Lord. He is so good.
My student and I bonded and I really enjoyed getting to know him. He grew a lot behaviorally - went from angry and throwing things or hurting people in his classroom to happy, celebrated and very well behaved. But that certainly wasn't just me, it was a team effort and the school did a lot for him. God helped form a connection between two unlikely people and used it to bless him. He put the right people in place to help a boy learn self control, resilience, optimism, and joy.
I am grateful for God giving me the opportunity to be a consistent adult presence in a young person’s life. I was able to offer advice, share life experiences, and help my student navigate challenges. I have seen how mentoring promotes positive social attitudes and gives youth the ability to trust their teachers and parents more and better able to communicate with them! It definitely takes a “village” to change lives! Praise be to God for the opportunity to mentor!
My last meeting with kris last week went great! The message of 'its not goodbye' its just 'see ya later' was the main thing for us. I printed out some pictures and gave them to him. We did some goodbye letters and he did not want to read them until after we left. Being a mentor meant a lot to me. God definitely knew what he was doing when he paired him and I together. We connected and his behavior improved since day ONE so much that other kids were noticing. The impact that I had on him was visible and the impact he had on me was long lasting.