“… not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted” -William Bruce Cameron
On January 30th, 2008 our first mentor (Budd Christopher) met our first Kids Hope child and a journey began for both the church community and the families in our neighborhood. It's a journey that has had so many unexpected twists and turns, and one that has allowed us to see God's "kingdom heart" on display. As we close out a full decade of learning and serving at Eagle Rock Elementary, we wanted to try and quantify some of what has happened. (To see some thoughts from our director at the start of this big year click here).
STUDENTS SERVED: We know numbers don't paint the whole picture, to simply add the number of students in the program each year, we would land at 642 kids. But because so many students come back year after year, even among our transient "at-risk" population, that's not an accurate number. Accounting for kids who have returned year after year, over the past 10 years there are 231 students who have participated in Kids Hope at Eagle Rock Elementary!!
LONGEVITY IS KEY: The average student participates in the program just shy of 4 years. (Of course there are students who are added in 6th grade or who leave the school midway through their first year.) We've had 20 students participate K-6th grade/1st-6th grade with the same mentor, and one student that spent 8 years meeting with her mentor! That type of long-term investment is life-changing (to both the mentor and the child).
“Because duration tends to imply close relationships and strong programs, match length is considered one of the best benchmarks of overall program effectiveness.” -Jean E. Rhodes, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Boston
- 91% of mentoring relationships that could have continued after one academic year continued meeting the next year.
- Of those relationships that ended, 7% were due to student transiency and 2% for other reasons.
We are proud of our mentors willingness to stay the course, even in the midst of difficult circumstances and matches! They demonstrate the faithfulness of God by their faithfulness to their child. There is no Kids Hope without each mentor deciding to show up for their child every week.
IMPACT AT SCHOOL: After a single year of mentoring (based on teacher end of year surveys):
- 79% of kids improved in social/emotional competency
- 65% improved in educational success
- 56% improved in attitude toward risky behaviors
- We started out meeting in the hallways at the school, but over the years as our program grew the school gave us a classroom. Kids Hope has made a home in rooms 16, 54, 34 and room 7 over the years!
IMPACT IN CALIFORNIA: We were the first program in Los Angeles, and have helped 9 other churches start 9 other programs locally (helping to bring the total of programs in CA from 1 to 15 over the last 10 years!) Including our program, that's one program a year that we've helped launch!
IMPACT AT CHURCH: 80% of volunteers report that their faith strengthened or they feel more committed to the church.
- Our mentors have invested a total of 631 YEARS at Eagle Rock Elementary
- 230 mentors from our congregation have been screened and trained to serve at the school (39 of them have served 5 or more years)
- 246 people from our congregation have served as prayer partners (41 of of them served praying 5 years or more!)
- 69 people have been screened and trained and served as "Super Subs". When mentors are sick or need to miss a session these Super Subs step in and help us honor our commitment to the child.
- 18 people have served on our Leadership Team over the last decade, offering their vision and tangible support to the program as a while.
- That means 563 people from Christian Assembly church (almost 1/5th of our congregation!) have completed our paperwork and training programs in order to volunteer with Kids Hope
- This does not include the myriad of volunteers that have helped out with our events over the years!
To say we are incredibly grateful for all those who have given the resources of their time and love and care to serve this past decade, would be a huge understatement. Our program truly would not be possible without them, and without the support of our church.
The Gospel speaks of “tikkun olam” the “repairing of the world”, which we call our “Kingdom Value” here at CA. And while charity connotes a single act of giving, justice speaks to a right way of living, of aligning oneself with the world in a way that sustains rather than exploits…the one that invests, relationally, for the long haul. Kids Hope has allowed us to practice both “charity” –those single acts of service (LoveLA & Day of Hope service days), as well as “justice” --a right way of living out our faith over the long haul. Sometimes it’s a simple small act, like the parable of the Mustard Seed that Jesus mentions in Matthew 13:31-32
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed,which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
God keeps us humble as we plant these seeds of faith and hope, trusting that God will water them and cause them to bear fruit in His time.
Former mentors were asked to reflect on their time serving with Kids Hope and what God taught them. The following 10 blog entries feature a man and a woman from each year of the program. Their stories don't capture everything, but paint a picture of how God shapes us as we step out in faith to serve Him.