How can only one hour each week with a child make a difference?
School personnel consistently report that many children involved with Kids Hope USA exhibit significant change in academic performance, attitude, attendance and behavior, often in as few as two one-hour visits. How can this be? Brain stem research proves that children who live in unstable environments operate near the base of the brain. Governed by fight and flight impulses, these children are unable to learn. Any evidence of love and nurture moves the child up in the brains tem to those areas of the brain where he/she can experience belonging and learn.
According to a survey conducted by the Frost Research Center, 99.3% of the KHUSA children benefited from their relationship with a mentor. Children demonstrated change and growth in these four ways:
- ATTITUDE: The children have a more cooperative spirit, and they are motivated to participate. They believe that they can succeed.
- BEHAVIOR: The children exhibit less aggressive and violent behavior. They are less disruptive and are melded into class.
- ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: The children improve in reading, math, spelling and test-taking skills because a caring adult believes in them and applauds their efforts.
- ATTENDANCE: The children do not want to miss school, especially on the day they will meet with their Kids Hope USA mentor.
Participation in Kids Hope USA is a ministry of our church. A strong relationship between Woodland and Larkspur Elementary has developed over the last several years. In the words of the Family Specialist at Larkspur, “Woodland is our Hero.” Many children who attend Larkspur live in the large number of apartments and Section 8 housing that surrounds the school. The population there is a migrant one with most children qualifying for free or reduced breakfast and lunch.
This ministry comes under the direction of the Missions and Ministries Committee. We’ve expanded our ministry to all of Larkspur. Woodland is one of about seven churches and organizations of Community Partners that serve Larkspur in many ways.
Other than the incredible financial support, we have had dedicated mentors who have gone weekly to love, encourage, and tutor children in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade. Mentors see their child thrive during the school year as they grow in knowledge, independence, and self esteem. Just encouraging a child and telling them, “you can do it; I believe in you” often times makes the difference in the success the child will experience during the school year.
Participation in the national KidsHope program has afforded our church with a mission field just a few miles from our church campus and has opened the eyes of many to the needs here in our community. Discover more about KidsHope at the Kids Hope USA website.