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.)

My Boys

Teens Greenville Trip 14May
Remember this reunion?

I miss my boys.

No, I don’t mean my sons. I mean the guys I was blessed to coach in Allendale. And I especially mean a handful of them who became particularly dear to my family.

Any coach or teacher knows that you ought not to have “favorites.” But it’s hard to avoid this.

We’ve had a dozen or more guys over to dinner. (Not at the same time. Good Lord. It was all we could do to prepare enough food for 3 or 4 at a time.) Some of them helped us with summer camps and spring break camps. I did a book study with four.

They played with my own kids — chess, Lego, Wii, soccer, baseball, whatever. (Hint: You ever want to win a parent’s heart? Love on his kids.)

And despite us looking nothing alike and having little in common, I treated them like my own kids. I was demanding (often) and sensitive (occasionally). I gave them practical advice, which sometimes sunk through their stubborn teenage skulls.

We laughed with each other, and we yelled at each other. I let them borrow my car, even after one of them wrecked his sister’s car.

I guess I’m thinking about “my boys” because a couple of guys (whom we were very close to) just graduated high school. A few them finished their freshman year in college. And a few are still in high school, and are getting ramped up for summer workouts.

For only having known them a few years, I’m amazed how much I think about them. I’m sure I’ll lose contact with most of them over the years.

That’s OK. They’ll always be “my boys.”

Related Links:

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…

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…

Taking Little Steps

LittleSteps MomGirl2

I’m not the most encouraging person around. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t give praise liberally. So when I give you a recommendation, you know that I must really like that service or product.

And I’m telling you that Little Steps is one of the best organizations that I’ve ever worked with.** Don’t take my word for it. Check out their proven results:

Take a