FirstLife Blog

Kids Hope USA

Posted by Trecia Hardin on

You can change a life-­ one relationship at a time.

In 2005, FBC became involved in a mentoring program called Kids Hope USA. For over two decades KHUSA has been on a mission to change the lives of at-risk kids of elementary age through one-on-one relationships. KHUSA is a national non-profit which partners churches with community schools. Church members are then matched with at-risk kids in their partner schools. The mentors spend approximately one hour per week at the school with their mentees in various activities (games, reading, classwork, fun projects). The priority is to build a relationship. There are now 1000 church-school partnerships in 34 states with over 15,000 mentoring relationships. Our partner school is South Knoxville Elementary.

According to KHUSA, based on reports from across the country, 20 million kids are considered at-risk. That is half of every elementary class of 30 students. Elementary students are the focus of KHUSA because these early years are critical in the formation of values, self-esteem, and in acquiring academic skills critical for future learning. Many students have trouble learning because of social and emotional needs. Teachers (SKE has great teachers.) do not have the time to address all these needs. Having a mentor come alongside to support, encourage, care, listen, love, and be a positive role model can help children become better learners. Teachers affirm that mentors can bring about positive changes in students.

Our partner school, South Knoxville Elementary, has 153 students (and growing) and a student­ teacher ratio of 16:1. The school population is culturally diverse and 60% economically disadvantaged. Many students are being raised by a single parent or by a grandparent.Last school year, FBC had eight great mentors who made 169 visits with their mentees at the school. Since four of our mentors are moving to middle school with their mentees, we will start this year with four returning mentors and two new matches. At present, we have four students from last year waiting to be matched with mentors. Some have been waiting for two years. At one time, FBC had 30 mentors at SKE. Children at South Knoxville Elementary need you. Please prayerfully consider whether you might be the person to change a child's life just by showing up and being a friend.

"And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
Matthew 18:5 (NIV)

For more information contact Trecia Hardin at
You can also learn more at kidshopeusa.org.

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