York Community Resource Center is a multi-purpose resource center serving residents of Brandywine and other surrounding Villa Park neighborhoods. Their goal is to provide the children of these communities opportunities to reach their highest potential. They began in 2014 and currently host about 30 elementary students and 20 middle school students each weekday from 3-6 pm. They provide tutoring and mentoring, helping the students to be successful with their work at school, and encouraging them in their growth and development.
Last spring, Pastor Jeff invited a couple of ECRC staff members with him to see what good things were happening at the York Center Community Resource Center. There we met their director, Lathie Norton and her dedicated staff. We learned about their work in the neighborhood, saw their hearts for the children, and talked about their desire to include Christian education in their program. We were hooked. We knew that this was something we wanted to be a part of.
Over the next couple of months we brainstormed, organized, and planned. We spent a lot of time in prayer over the volunteers God would provide. I was amazed over and over how things fell into place and how clear it was which way we should go. We decided that our lessons would be called GodTime, and that they would be similar to children’s worship here at church. There would be slight differences to take into account the children’s varied religious and family backgrounds, but overall on Thursday nights, these precious children would be taking a journey through God’s big story in the same way that our children on Sunday morning were here at church.
Our amazing volunteer team was ready to go and couldn’t wait to get started!
That first night 13 kids attended. They came in slightly hesitant, but it took only minutes before they were talking with their leaders and sharing all about themselves. Everyone had huge smiles on their faces. Energy was high as the group got to know each other and worked through the story of David and Goliath.
Between the first and second week two new students joined, and the kids constantly asked: “When are we meeting again?” and “Can we meet every day?” In the middle of their Thanksgiving party, Lathie found that one of the little girls had pulled her new Bible off of the shelf and was looking up the verse they had studied earlier that week. These awesome kids are so eager to learn about God and they have so many questions. They are excited to discover more.
God has blessed us richly in both people and resources. I am so very thankful to the team that shares the love of Jesus with the children in GodTime every Thursday night. I am thankful that we get to build relationships with this amazing community. And I am thankful to the people, our church, for your prayers and support. We are still learning and figuring things out, but I have no doubt that we are in the right place. I am looking forward to seeing how this ministry grows.
One final challenge: If we had more tutors and more teachers, we could assist more children. It will never be convenient to step out and walk alongside someone in Jesus’ name, but the abundant life you will experience makes the adjustment in your life and schedule worth every minute. If you would like to get involved and be part of the team blessing these kids in the name of Jesus, email Pastor Jeff at [email protected] or Kara at [email protected].