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Aug 14, 2015 | Carol E. Barnwell

Richmond Church Partners with Elementary for Mentoring Program


From L to R: The Rev. Kristin Sullivan, Lisa Arnold and Tracey Bogan, director of Kids Hope Houston

Kids Hope recently recognized St. Mark’s, Richmond as one of its “churches of the year” for their mentoring program at Cora Thomas Elementary School in the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, west of Houston.


Volunteers from the church began their mentoring partnership with 10 students from the nearby school after receiving training from Kids Hope USA. They also encouraged St. Mark’s, Bay City and Calvary, Richmond to begin partnerships with Kids Hope.


The national organization actively seeks churches to partner with schools to provide emotional, social and academic needs for students. Through their “One Child, One Hour, One Church, One School” model, each church partners with a school where mentors from the church spend one hour weekly, one-on-one with their students at the school. KHUSA provides training and support for mentors.


“The Kids Hope USA mentoring program exceeded our wildest expectations and highest hopes!” said Cora Thomas Principal Vicki Stevenson. She said that students benefited from the “caring and talented mentors” and that the teachers also found the program beneficial. Students typically spend an hour with their mentor during a time when they would be in art, music or PE. The students are chosen by the principal and details for the mentors are discussed with the principal, an instructional coordinator and school counselor, according to Lisa Arnold, who coordinated the program from St. Mark’s.


“Sheryl Smith joined us from Calvary Church in Richmond to mentor last year and now she is beginning a new partnership with volunteers from Calvary and the school across the street from the church,” Arnold said. Another supporter of St. Mark’s program was the Rev. Kristin Sullivan, who will lead another new partnership with a Bay City elementary school.


“Since I began mentoring and seeing the positive response, I’m more in tune to how much personal time I spend with each of my own kids,” Arnold said. “I hope more churches will join us, it’s just a great ministry,” she added.


“We are thrilled with all the energy that Lisa and St. Mark’s have brought to this relatively new partnership,” said Tracey Bogan, director of Kids Hope in Houston. “Through their involvement, two additional churches will begin mentoring this fall. The real winners will be the students who benefit from the added support at school. We know it will help them to learn, grow and succeed.” 


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