The following is a guest post from Rev. David Alexander, Directing Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Mansfield.
Two years ago our church started researching the possibility of launching a mentoring program for one of our local elementary schools. Through some of our church lay leaders we were introduced to Big Hope; a mentoring program for at risk students that was started as a partnership between Kids Hope USA and Big Brothers & Big Sisters.
After prayerfully considering this exciting opportunity we launched our Big Hope program in the Fall of 2012 in partnership with Ponder Elementary School which is located less than a mile from our church campus.
The framework of the program is really simple.
It involves one church establishing a relationship with one school, pairing up one child with one trained mentor for one hour each week, and inviting one additional prayer partner to pray consistently for each child & mentor. We started with a small group of kids in 2012.
Six months after our launch we shared the following video update with our congregation.
Big Hope: Alice Ponder Elementary from First Methodist Mansfield on Vimeo.
We are currently in the second year of this partnership. In the last year we have also had the chance to connect other churches in our area with other Elementary Schools. Two additional schools launched programs in the Mansfield area in the Fall of 2013.
First United Methodist Church of Mansfield is a large congregation that is committed to making a difference in our local community, but part of what makes Big Hope so special is that if a church has people who are willing to take an hour of their week to mentor kids, you have everything you need.
Churches of all sizes can make a substantial difference in their local community because of the resource support that is provided by Kids Hope USA and Big Brothers & Big Sisters.
We have a dream that one day every at risk child in our local school district will have the opportunity to connect with a caring mentor. We would love nothing more than to help other United Methodist churches get connected to this tremendous opportunity to bless children in their local community.
If you are interested in hearing more about Big Hope or have any questions about the possibility of starting a program in your area, please contact our Director of Serving and Outreach, Susan Luttrell, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by contacting our church office at 817-477-2287.