Can You Help Fill This Gap?

Vox Josh Courtney

One of My Boys is coming to Greenville, and he could use your support.

Courtney Owens is a young man from Allendale who . . .

  • was one of the hardest working guys I coached;
  • volunteered at every camp that I asked him to work (and that was a lot);
  • shows a desire to improve himself, such as reading every book I’ve given him, and even going through a book study with a group of guys;
  • impressed a local business owner enough to get hired — an impressive feat in a community of high unemployment and few employers.

Now, he has graduated high school, and is wanting to move on towards success in life. The question before him now is, what does that life look like?

Courtney has been raised by a loving and strong mother, and with the influence of some caring men to give him guidance along the way. But he can use more. He can use Vox Bivium.

What is Vox Bivium? Click here to learn more…

Young Entrepreneurs

hannah village fashion

My daughter has a fantastic summer job, through which she is earning a paycheck by the sweat of her brow (and her back, armpits, and all over). But more than that, she and thirteen other teenagers have the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship.

Every Wednesday, these youth meet to learn about characteristics of successful businesses, such as strategy, marketing, customer service, etc. Then they get to apply their knowledge through a real-world business plan.

That’s right, these teenagers are not just learning about business. They are running a business.

Check that. They are collectively launching and running four businesses:

  • Bread Winnerz is developing a recipe with a local bread maker.
  • Village Fashion will be designing and printing a t-shirt.
  • Team Frepair is designing and building a bike repair station.
  • Cook It Up is creating a healthy, low-cost recipe using the produce the teens are growing.

We are almost halfway through our summer (gasp!), and these business teams are making progress. However, they need your support. They each need some more capital to get their businesses going.

Would you consider making a financial contribution to support one of the teams? Note that your money will be used as a no-interest loan to help build a real business. And when that business pays back the loan, your original investment will then help another entrepreneur. (Thanks, Nasha Lending!)

You can click on any of the team names above to make a donation. Of course, I have a particular favorite — the most fashionable choice.  (And you can check out their blog, too.)

Summer Opportunities

MVF Serenity Farm
Hannah volunteered with Mill Village Farms. Now she’ll be working for them.

This summer will be busy with a new season for our family. And we are glad.

This will be our first full summer in Greenville in 5 years, and there is no doubt that that 2015 is very different than 2010. Five years ago, we had a house with a neighborhood pool, our kids went to a week of VBS, and we spent a lot of time with friends. (Of course, since I was a children’s pastor, summer was very busy.)

All of those are fine and well, but now we are in a new season. Part of the change is because our kids are older: Hannah (about to enter high school!) was our youngest’s age when we last lived in Greenville. And part of the change is that our focus is very different.

This summer, Hannah will be busy working her first real job, and for the first time ever, we will be assisting with (but not in charge of) a summer camp for local children.

Click here to learn more…

Clubhouse Kids: By the Numbers

This is our last week of Clubhouse Kids after school program, before we take a break for the summer.

We could share lots of stories of how we’ve seen children grow and learn and be loved. I already have, here and here and here.

Instead, especially since I’m a math guy, I’ll just share some numbers of what’s been happening over the past few months:

  • nearly 150 hours of reading,
  • more than 250 hours of homework assistance,
  • more than 250 hours of exercise and physical activity by children (to say nothing of us adults!)
  • dozens of arts and crafts creations (all credit to my wife)
  • 180 volunteer hours (which is worth far more than the calculated $4152.60)
  • 520 snacks served to children, virtually all of which were donated
  • $2500 donated to send kids to summer camps

This doesn’t quantify the new relationships that formed, especially between kids from the neighborhood and outside the neighborhood (since they don’t go to school together).

And it doesn’t include the spiritual and emotional investment our team has made in the hearts of these children. As one mom told me:

“They come home talking about all kinds of stuff about the Bible that you guys are teaching them.”

To our volunteers, families, and donors, we give a big . . .

THANK YOU!!!

You are making an invaluable and eternal difference.

Help Create Beautiful Memories for a Child This Summer

A couple of weekends ago, I spent two nights at a retreat with a few 5th and 6th graders from Grace Church.

And when I say “a few,” I mean about 250 children. Plus leaders. Yikes.

Despite my distaste for retreats (chaos, lack of sleep, noisy, dirty, crowded) I am glad I went, because I got to be with some special people in my life:

  • my son Elijah,
  • my small group of 6th grade boys,
  • a 5th grade girl from our Clubhouse Kids after school program.

The young lady had a great time. On the first night, she told her leader, “This is the best night I’ve had in a long time.” She got to be with friends from school (but whom she doesn’t interact with much outside of school), and make a lot of new friends.

Her positive experience reminded me of the importance of helping students (especially those from under-resourced communities) get to summer camp.

Read how you can do the same…

Join the Clubhouse

Clubhouse Morrell

“It was the first time all year that he did his homework. He was so proud of himself!”

A local school principal told me this, two days after launching the new after school program in our neighborhood. She was referring to a student who was one of the first to enroll in “Clubhouse Kids.”

For however long God has this ministry for us, I will not forget those words. Those words made me sad (that he hadn’t done his homework at all for the first half of the school year). And those words made me excited, not just that he did the work, but that he felt great about himself because he had been wanting to do it all along.

Maybe, just maybe, this is the start of something wonderful, for him and for a dozen other children in our community. And you can be a part of it.

Why you should be involved, and how …

Year-End Giving: Mill Community Ministries

cash morguefile cohdra

It’s that time of the year when you will be inundated with numerous requests to donate money before 2014 is over. (Can we say “tax deduction”?). And that’s great, since there are many worthwhile charities that need our support.

Besides giving to Grace Church and supporting a few overseas missionaries (Osborns, Cawleys, Dosters), we also donate to a few other charities (both faith-based and social service) regularly. Over the last 10 years, we’ve consolidated more and more so we are not spreading out our resources too much.

Do you know who else we give to? Mill Community Ministries, the organization I work for. And if you are wondering where you can make a meaningful financial contribution, I encourage you to consider donating to Mill Community Ministries, too.

Learn about the example I witnessed that changed my life…