Commentary by Prof. B.: One of the most life changing ministries I’ve seen a local church embrace is the Kids Hope USA program utilized by College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana.
Here is an overview:
“Frances Slocum Partnership Year in Review” by College Wesleyan, June 8, 2017.
“College Wesleyan Church just finished its seventh year in partnership with Frances Slocum Elementary. Our partnership has created ways for the church to be intentional in loving our community better. There are many ways volunteers can invest in Frances Slocum Elementary to build relationships, encourage teachers and staff, and work together to build a stronger community with families.
“One way is through our mentoring program with Kids Hope USA. Kids Hope continues to be a strong academic, social and emotional support system for students and teachers. This year we mentored 85 students each week through Kids Hope in the school.
Another way volunteers are involved at Frances Slocum is through our adopt a teacher/staff ministry. We want all teachers/staff members at Frances Slocum to know they are loved, valued, prayed for, and admired! CWC made the intentional decision to provide an encouragement partner to each member of the Frances Slocum family. Encouragement partners from CWC offer support with notes and small gifts along with prayer. “Receiving a gift or a note of encouragement from my CWC family is a consistent reminder that I am not in this alone. It’s amazing to know that I have someone praying for me and my students on a regular basis,” said Mr. Evans, a third grade teacher at Frances Slocum. Teacher luncheons for teachers and staff is another avenue we use to support and encourage. The first Wednesday of each month the hallways of Frances Slocum are filled with the sweet smells of homemade soups, freshly baked desserts, and fresh salads. Twelve volunteers from CWC work on a rotation to supply a lunch to the teachers/staff at Frances Slocum. Teachers come to the lounge, gather around tables, laugh and talk as they are served lunch by our CWC Body. We want to thank each soup maker, salad creator, dessert baker, server, and lounge hostess for their faithfulness this school year. Your acts of love are appreciated and making a difference in the lives of our Frances Slocum teachers/staff….
Many volunteers continue to support and serve our community throughout the summer. Our partnership with families at Frances Slocum continues through the summer through relational events. Our church sends over 50 kids to summer camps. We do Kids Hope summer backyard parties. We do popsicle parties in neighborhoods where our kids and families live. We help kids earn bikes through our Tandem Bike ministry. Last summer over 10 kids earned a gently used bike through doing community service.” (retrieved from http://www.collegewes.com/2017/06/08/frances-slocum-partnership-year-in-review/)
They signed up retired members of the congregation to volunteer one lunch break each week to meet with a mentee and help them with their homework. Not only is this giving purpose and opportunities for retirees, but it’s also raised the educational level of Francis Slocum School. Kids Hope USA is national program they’ve adopted for missional impact. Here is more info: https://kidshopeusa.org/mentor-program/
Regardless, the program leverages the expertise of our senior citizens which are a growing percentage of our culture with many of the latchkey children that struggle in our schools.