KIDS HOPE USA
KIDS HOPE USA is a national mentoring program which partners a congregation with a local school. Mentors from the congregation are recruited, screened, and trained. Each mentor is then matched with a child who has been recommended to the program by the teachers. The mentors go to the school for one hour each week to work with their students. Behind each relationship is a prayer partner who holds the mentor/child up in prayer.
This is our eighth year of mentoring. Since Drake Elementary, our school for the past seven years, has been closed, we are now partnered with Whitney Elementary School. We currently have thirteen (13) mentors from our congregation who are actively involved with mentoring students at the school. This is the time of year when our numbers are in flux. New referrals are being matched with mentors, and we are waiting for parental permission from others. Because of redistricting, we also have two (2) mentors at Surrarrer Elementary and two (2) at Muraski Elementary.
Occasionally, social events for mentors, prayer partners, and students are planned. KIDS HOPE USA is committed to befriending the mentees and their families.
This ministry follows the model of the national KIDS HOPE USA organization: one child, one hour, one church, one school.
The children in our program need someone who can be present at a critical time in their lives when values are formed, when self-esteem is developed, and when basic academic and problem solving skills are acquired. Our mentors show up every week and don’t let their students down. They spend time reading, talking, listening, and playing with them. Their friendship supports the students’ social, academic, and emotional needs.
KIDS HOPE USA provides a new way for our members to serve. Many churches now realize that their local communities are the places where they can make a difference – not by donating material goods alone but also by actually engaging in life-changing one-on-one relationships with at-risk children. Reggie McNeal, author of Missional Renaissance, states that when trying to connect to the community, nothing does that quicker than adopting a school and nobody knows how to help with that better than KIDS HOPE USA. KIDS HOPE USA has provided a pathway into our community.
Our KIDS HOPE USA partnership with Whitney Elementary provides a proven intervention for at-risk kids, resulting in significant changes of attitude and behavior as well as academic performance, at no cost to the school. While mentors are to model “Jesus with skin on” with their behavior, they also strictly adhere to the separation of church and state while at the school.
By using the existing structures of the elementary school and our church as the framework, our KHUSA program has created successful, sustainable, and life-changing church-school partnerships in just 60 minutes per week.
Director, KIDS HOPE USA
KIDS HOPE USA currently needs a Celebration Coordinator and an Encouragement Coordinator for the Leadership Team as well as Substitute Mentors. Please contact Director Gloria Reichert if you are interested in learning more!