The Power of an Hour: A Child’s Life and Beyond

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Kids Hope

Kids Hope USA is a national organization that partners with local churches that in turn, partner with local elementary schools. Tapping into an ever-expanding network of school/church partnerships, Kid Hope USA pairs adult mentors with students who are struggling. By spending just one hour per week reading, talking, playing, and listening to a child at school during the child’s lunch period, a volunteer mentor can help him feel loved and valued. That can contribute to helping a child learn, grow, and succeed.

One of the reasons the Kids Hope USA program is so effective is their ability to get into schools where these children can be reached. Principals and teachers have witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of the program mentors in improving the lives of at-risk children. While the scope of the program remains focused on the one hour that takes place at school, there are opportunities for children to invite their families to Kids Hope-sponsored events and the chance of continued summer contact through the use of permission slips sent home to the parents. If the mentor’s relationship with the student grows beyond the jurisdiction of the school, then the child and the entire family can be invited to church events.

Willow Creek South Barrington sponsors 11 schools and mentors 55-60 children. The 2013 school year will be the fourth year in which church volunteers have participated, and in each school, the church partners with a director who also serves as a mentor. Full training and support is provided. Mentors are also associated with a prayer partner who prays for the success of the relationship.

Kellye Fabian, program manager for the Kids Hope ministry at Willow Creek, under the umbrella of The Care Center, says the need for volunteers is tremendous, particularly for male volunteers. The program’s relationship with the schools is also an effective way to let the students’ families know about the Willow Creek Care Center, where they are able to find help with other life struggles.

Kellye’s passion for the program is clear as she tells story after story about how God orchestrates mentorships to lift not only individual children but, in some cases, their entire family. “There is so much God timing around this ministry,” says Kellye as she speaks of entire families who were touched first by Kids Hope, then by Willow’s church and Care Center.

Dana Wells, a volunteer who is a Kids Hope director for two schools, spoke of children barely able to smile, or talk above a whisper who are learning to trust a mentor who returns week after week to teach them about the power of choice and the importance of having dreams, goals, and ambitions. It’s “planting good seeds,” says Dana.

As the Kids Hope ministry prepares for the upcoming school year, they will launch volunteer training events beginning in August. If you have one hour per week to give of yourself and you want to make sure that hour counts, consider the impact of becoming a Kids Hope mentor. Volunteers can be paired with a student at a school near their home or place of work.

The kickoff and invitational for the upcoming school year will be held from 9-11 a.m. on August 17 in room B100. Refreshments will be provided. Email Kellye Fabian for more information or by visit the Kids Hope USA website.

 

Category : Local Outreach

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