Kids Hope Update

By Audrey Shantz • From our September/October 2012 newsletter

In December a child from Valley View was referred to the Kids Hope USA program. This second grade boy’s father was not present in the home, and his teacher thought he could benefit from a positive male role model and someone to help him with his school work. A wonderful man from our congregation volunteered and went through the mentor training. He started meeting with the boy in January. After just 3 visits together his teacher said she could already see a difference! A few months later he was getting 100% on his spelling tests and his confidence was soaring.

As adults we often strive to use our time and our abilities to feel purposeful and fulfilled. We want to do good in this world and feel like we’re making a difference. Kids Hope USA is such a simple way to be the hands and feet of Jesus – one child, one mentor, one hour each week. School is hard! Sometimes I can’t believe how many hours a week kids are in school, how much planning ahead, homework, and schedules they have to keep to at such a young age. Kids can be referred into the program for a variety of different reasons – because they are behind in school, have trouble making friends, could use some one on one attention, have had a difficult life, act out in school, or need some help reading. Working with a child from one week to the next, a mentor has an opportunity to praise even the smallest progress and achievements. Those positive words can breathe life into a child.

Becoming a mentor can be a blessing to the adult, not just the child. In meeting every week, a friendship is developed. A relationship is built. You feel needed, even if you’re just playing games and helping with homework.

Virgil Gulker, founder of Kids Hope USA, tells of his favorite story. A second grader in Indiana was asked if he could describe Kids Hope USA . “Sure,” he said. “Old people come to Kids Hope USA when they need a friend.”

For more information on becoming a mentor, please contact Audrey Shantz: 616-866-2308.

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