Village Wrench: Bike (L)earning

What do you know about The Village Wrench?

VillageWrench from Kaleb Ross on Vimeo.

 

Learn more about The Village Wrench, a part of Mill Community Ministries (Greenville, SC).

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Grace Church, Elevate Youth, Me, and You

I’ve been a part of Grace Church for 19 years now. No doubt, 99% of who I am is because of how people in this church have taught, mentored, lead, and served me.

I could say I owe Grace Church a lot, but the truth is that God deserves all credit and glory. Grace Church has been His tool that has shaped me.

But a very important tool. Grace Church . . .

  • is the first church I was a member of (I became a Christian 20 years ago);
  • was where I first started serving with children (I knew nothing about kids, except having been one);
  • was where I met my wife;
  • entrusted with me leading Children’s Ministry for four years;
  • empowered and equipped our family to serve in Allendale, SC for 3.5 years.

As a whole, Grace Church has continued to support and partner with me (and with God’s ministry through me) for nearly two decades.

And it’s still going on.

Read more about Grace Church’s partnership with my new organization, Elevate Youth, on the Grace Pastors Blog.

Then, you can check out these links for more explanation and inspiration:

The Hope for Unseen Greenville

Unseen Greenville Panel

Since we moved back to Greenville a year ago (and especially since we now live downtown), I’ve learned a few things about our city:

Greenville does a great job “hiding” its problems (such as poverty).

And (as a result of this),

It’s easier to raise money and awareness for places like Allendale than it is for Greenville.

Now, both of these observations are vast generalizations. Most of us in Greenville are aware of real problems and needs in our community. And we have had lots of supporters for our ministry in Greenville.

But when most people think of Greenville, they think of all the Top 10 lists that our city finds itself on, for food, raising a family, and more. And we are so confident in our superiority that we boast of our hashtag #yeahTHATGreenville.

Still, if you hang around long enough and open your eyes and hear, you’ll see the unseen Greenville.

You’ll want to SEE this . . .

Clubhouse Kids: A Piece of the Puzzle

Let’s be clear about Clubhouse Kids, the new after school program in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood (downtown Greenville, SC).

  • We are not substitute parents. Each of these children have a family that loves them, and that is their primary relationship.
  • We do not offer intensive tutoring and remediation. With the number of volunteers (anywhere from 3-5 on a day) and students (up to 18), we cannot give individual attention to every children who needs help with reading and homework.
  • We are not a counseling service. Some of our students have emotional challenges. While we aim to show love for each child, we don’t have time (or the know-how) to talk in-depth with each student.
  • We are not a local church. While we teach the Bible, communicate the gospel, and pray, we are not a replacement for a community of believers.

We are not replacements for parents, educators, counselors, or churches. But we can be a piece of the puzzle. Home and school are the biggest pieces of these children’s lives, but we believe that we can come alongside those other institutions.

And that’s what we are hearing from our students, their families, and their schools. Here are just a few examples:

You don’t want to miss these…

Engaging Your Business and Your Community

missiontoworship_14Nov Last fall, Grace Church hosted a Mission to Worship event. In case you missed it, I thought it would be beneficial to re-post the videos (and some thoughts) from the two main teaching sessions.

Building Significance in Your Business

First, Brian Gural facilitated a conversation with businessman Mike Pereyo. If you are a Christian business-owner, you will be challenged and encouraged by watching this. And even if you’re not (like myself), you will love the story of this company.  Click here to continue…

Getting Powered for Life!

Last month, we (Elevate Youth and Mill Village Farms) helped to launch a 16-week program for teenagers, called Powered for Life. We advertised and recruited with the aim of enlisting a diverse range of students. With students coming from six different schools, I think we achieved our goal!

The Powered for Life material is a Bible-centered tool to help prepare young adults for a successful life. It focuses on four main ideas, with the acronym L.I.F.E. –>

Learn more by clicking here…

Why After School Programs

kasarda additionDuring our time in Allendale, my wife and I saw the value of after school programs for children and teenagers. Besides giving children an opportunity to get help with school work, they need a place hang out with friends and positive role models. (I saw this early on when we asked some students why they wanted to be in the new after school program.)

When we moved to Greenville this summer, we wondered if an after school program would be needed in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood (the community where we are focusing on for now). And after talking with school and community leaders, as well as local parents, we were sure that this was a need.

But this is not a novel idea, of course, whether in Greenville or in our neighborhood. A couple of years ago, a young man who came through the Mill Village Farms program as a teenager, had the desire to start an after school program. But at 19 years of age, Morrell Stokes didn’t feel like he could do this himself.

God (and a mutual friend) brought Morrell and I together, combining his passion for the community, and our experience with after school programs. We are excited to be working together to launch Clubhouse Kids After School on Monday January 26, meeting at Long Branch Baptist Church (Morrell’s church, and a partner of Grace Church and Mill Community Ministries).  Continue reading