Impact Hope 2017 Recap!

Check out this video to see a summary of HFK's summer ministry: Impact Clubs!

This summer, hope happened in the city of Springfield.

We asked the team to share how this summer of camps affected their own lives. Check out the stories below.

“One part of Impact Clubs that changed my life is: every time a kid would get a Bible they would read a ton of it! It just shows, if they read it, how much more I as a Christian should read it! Just shows how much we need the Bible.” - Andrew
“This summer was life-changing for both me and the many children we reached with the hope of the Gospel. One of my favorite memories took place when I was counseling this adorable ten-year-old girl. When I told this child that Jesus loved and adored her, I remember seeing her face completely light up and a huge smile take over her face. After this girl prayed and received Jesus as her Savior, I saw a whole new hope and joy in her eyes. From then on, she was a completely different girl with joy in her heart and a brand new thirst for God's Word. Seeing this change completely impacted and changed my life in so many ways!!" - Alissa
“Impact Clubs 2017 changed lives. So many amazing memories were made with the children and the team. You could actually see the hope and excitement on the kids' faces as they found out how loved they are.”
- Josh
“Impact Clubs 2017 brought the light of hope into some of the darkest parts of Springfield, MA. Relationships were built, strongholds were broken, lives were changed, and the souls of children were set free with the hope of the Gospel! Praise God!” - Cameron
“So far, this has been the most amazing summer of my life! The team and I have made so many priceless memories! And I have formed some of the most amazing bonds with the awesomest kids ever! And it's been amazing to see God's hand in all of it.” - Caleb
“This summer went by way too fast but I wouldn't have wanted to spend it any other way or with any other people. God is amazing. He chose to use us - a team of cheeky young adults - to bring hope, light, and joy to kids in heartbreaking circumstances.” - Emily
“Through Impact Clubs I have learned so much. I have learned to love, to look beyond what I see with my eyes, and to ultimately trust that God has everything worked out and it all just depends on His timing. I have met so many sweet friends and even sweeter kids who have all been through so much. It has been a joy being the light of Jesus to a very dark and lonely place!” - Maddy

Impact Clubs 2017

We are looking back on these three weeks of clubs with full hearts. Each and every member of the team invested so much energy into these precious kids–from preparing to teach Bible lessons to playing basketball in the hot sun to playing countless games of tag, this was an exhausting month for sure, but it was so worth it. Every single member of the team with remember faces from each and every neighborhood we visited, and the relationships we built with these kids will continue into the school year! Leaving all the friends we had made by the end of each week was definitely sad, but we have the hope of seeing them all again at Club Hope for the entire school year! We are so thankful for all the Lord did through Impact Clubs and the many children who believed in Jesus and were added to His family.

Check out the photo gallery below, and keep an eye out for the IMPACT HOPE 2017 wrap-up video, coming out this week!

Impact Hope: Impact Club Training Camp 2017

At the end of June 2017, twelve teens and young adults went through intensive training in order to share the gospel in the city of Springfield this summer. They camped out at the Currier home for seven days during Impact Club Training (ICT) and learned how to lead all the different parts of an Impact Club--songs, games, missionary stories, and Bible lessons. We had an amazing team this year--they built strong relationships with each other and with the children we reached through the following three weeks of Clubs. Check out the videos below to get a glimpse into this year's training camp!

Watch DAY ONE of our Impact Club Training videos and get to know our ICTers!

On Day Two, we finished Wordless Book training, learned how to teach a Bible verse and started learning about Bible lessons and missions teaching, put dance motions to our theme song, had an amazing lunch donated by Chik-Fil-A, went for a hike up Peaked Mountain during Rec Time, and bonded more as a team.

Check out Day Two's video:

Days Three and Four of Impact Club Training were absolutely jam-packed for our ICTers! They worked extremely hard and knocked out a ton of their teaching evaluations. We’ve had two great lunches donated by Hot Table and Papa John’s, awesome classes and study halls, a super fun time learning the motions to our theme song, and a lot of progress made during Team Practice time.

See a day in the life of an ICTer in Day Three's video:

In Day Four's video, we ask the ICTers for one word to describe their day.

Day Five of Impact Club Training was the last full day of classes for the ICTers! Everyone did a great job and we had a campfire to close out the night.

In Thursday’s video, everyone shared one of the most significant (or funny) things they’ve learned this week.

After a week of pouring hard work into their classes and evaluations, the ICTers got to put a practice club into action. The kids from one of our bus stops in Springfield visited the Currier’s home for games, music, a Bible lesson, and everything else that goes into a real Impact Club!

Check out the club in the video for day six:

This week of training has paid off.

Three weeks of Impact Clubs later, we have reached so many children in the city of Springfield across five different neighborhoods. Read personal stories from the team and see tons of photos from our 2017 Impact Clubs here.

12 Days of Hope

During the month of December, the Hope for Kids team put a project into action called 12 Days of Hope! These 12 days were focused on strengthening relationships with Hope for Kids families through special projects. This project also focused on raising awareness of the ministry that takes place through HFK during every month of the year, not only at Christmas! Thank you to all who supported this marathon of a project.

Check out the videos from this project below!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 5

Day 7

Day 9

Day 4

Day 6

Day 8

Day 11

Day 12

Hope Happens: Changed

This week’s Hope Happens story is about a little boy who has come to Club Hope since Hope for Kids was founded. This guy was always known for being off the walls crazy and rambunctious, and never wanting to follow the rules! Time after time we had to suspend him from our events because of lack of obeying or following rules. Yet Hope for Kids never lost their love for this child, and continued to invest in home through personal visits, taking he and his family out to eat, and most importantly- prayer. Well, for a few months Hope for Kids lost contact with this family, and didn’t see him at any of their events for a while, when finally, just this past Saturday, he finally came to Club Hope! However, this young boy was a completely different person on the inside. Everyone was shocked at how well behaved and respectful he was. God has a plan for him. A very specific plan. And He is at work in his young life, and through endless prayer and consistent investment, we are lucky enough to witness firsthand just how the hope of Jesus Christ can change a life, no matter how young!

Hope Happens: No Fear

At our January Club Hope event, I had the privilege of teaching one of the younger girl’s small groups! I’ve just recently started working with this age group, and I love getting to connect with these girls so much.

The memory verse we learned in small group that day was about Abraham’s faith, and we talked about what it meant to believe that God had a plan even when we couldn’t see what was coming next. This group of girls had a TON of energy that day, so after we worked on the verse for awhile we played a game before I tried to settle them down. Just before they were about to leave for the bus ride home, we sat down and one of the girls volunteered to pray. Somehow she still was pretty wound up and kept fading into a giggle fit every time she started to pray. It was pretty funny at first, but after about ten false starts, I felt prompted to ask the girls about what prayer meant to them.

We started talking about how when we prayed, we could have faith that Jesus was right in the room, listening to us talking to Him. We talked about how we could just tell Him whatever was on our mind, and He didn’t mind if we had our words perfectly figured out–He loves us, and He hears us.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
-Matthew 7:11

The little girl locked eyes with me and calmed right down while I was talking–I could tell she was really listening. Then she asked to pray again, but this time she was completely focused as she prayed for her family and thanked God that we could all be together at Club Hope.

This girl’s prayer reminded me of something my mom had been dealing with that week with my five-year-old brother. He’s been learning how to write his alphabet, but whenever my mom sat down to teach him, he would start getting really goofy and end up scribbling. After a couple days of this, my mom prayed about what to do because it was getting really frustrating. The next day when my brother started getting off-track again, my mom asked him if he was afraid of making a mistake. The little guy said yes and started crying, and my mom was able to talk to him about how he doesn’t need to be afraid.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that even happy little kids can be so scared of failure, whether it’s while they’re at school, playing sports, or even praying aloud. Sometimes all it takes to chase that fear away is a reminder that they are loved.

Something that never fails to blow me away when I really think about it is this: God delights in me.

“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.”

-Psalm 16:3

He loves each of His children far, far more than any human mind could ever comprehend. I’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve this love, but He protects, forgives, and cherishes me anyway. If I could share one thing with all the children we reach that could shape the foundation for the rest of their lives, it would be this: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment…We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18a,19)

These kids often have so many reasons to be afraid, but we serve a God of unfailing love. He loves to hear our prayers! When you have the opportunity to remind a child of this, it’s amazing to see the difference in their prayer.

Hope Happens: the latest stories

Hope Happens videos feature stories of how God has worked through our ministry. Find even more videos on our Youtube channel!

Last week we had the opportunity to visit a family who had moved away from Hope for Kids!

It was so fun to reconnect with them and it truly proved how lasting and strong relationships built on hope can be. Please comment below if YOU would like to be a part of your own Hope Happens project!

Cameron shares the story of our most recent outreach opportunity–an Impact Club at a Springfield shelter! 

Cameron shares the story of how one family experienced hope through a personal visit!

Jeremiah shares the story of how taking the time to invest in one child made all the difference at a recent Club Hope event!

Cameron shares the story of how a simple act of kindness shared God’s love with a hurting child.

Volunteer Spotlight: Raquel

This month, we’re starting a new feature at Hope for Kids: Volunteer Spotlights! This week we interviewed Raquel Rodriguez. Raquel has been a faithful volunteer during many of our Club Hope events and also makes confirmation phone calls to families prior to events. She is now serving on the Hope for Kids Board of Directors! 

Through these volunteer spotlights, we not only want to brag on our amazing volunteers: we want to give them a chance to share! I had a chance to interview Raquel this afternoon, and you can read her story below.

How did you start working with Hope for Kids?

I’ve always had a pull to get involved with kids, especially at my church–in the nursery, on the Board of Christian Education, and in helping with Sunday school curriculums. I tend to gravitate towards preschool-age kids especially, and I coordinated nursery ministry. I first heard about Hope for Kids when Matt spoke at Church of the Acres where I was attending. Along with another Hope for Kids volunteer, I helped with a Life Skills craft workshop for HFK and volunteered in the kitchen during Basketball Camp! I don’t remember the point when I volunteered to make phone calls for Club Hope, but that has been a blessing.

What is one experience or relationship that stands out to you in your work with the ministry?

My favorite story has to be about this one little boy who comes from a big family. The first time he came to Club Hope, he was confused about where to go and didn’t want to leave his sister. [He also speaks only Spanish and was not able to communicate.] But when he was watching the volunteers welcoming his family and working together, it helped calm his separation anxiety. Working with him is heartwarming for me–I have a connection with him. I look at these kids and see me when I first came to the United States. My mother came with nine children. We have the same struggles. Where these kids come from, that’s where I came from too.

How has your life or your walk with the Lord been changed through your time with Hope for Kids?

I think it has helped me to first of all have a closer relationship with God, because I see the amazing work that God is doing. He is using us to do an amazing work in the community. Not just with Hope for Kids, but anywhere we have contact especially with children around us. My eyes are open more, and I want to have God use me any way He can.

Thank you for all you do, Raquel! You are truly an irreplaceable gift to our ministry and we are so thankful for the ways you serve the Lord with your unique gifts.

Volunteer Spotlight: Mariah

This week we’re spotlighting one of our awesome Mentor Hope volunteers, Mariah Duran! Mariah has been working with Hope for Kids at Club Hope for almost three years, and has been getting involved with Connect Hope as well! She spends time with many of our middle school-aged girls outside of HFK events: hanging out at Starbucks, bringing them to youth group, and even going rock climbing! Relationship building is such an important part of reaching these kids, and we are so grateful for the way Mariah truly invests herself in their lives.

You can check out our interview with Mariah below!

How did you get involved with Hope for Kids?

I heard about the ministry on the Q99.7!

Can you tell me about the first day you volunteered?

The first day I volunteered I was so nervous! I had signed up for the bus and I felt so unqualified to be involved in these kids’ lives. Another thing I felt was overwhelmed. There was so much happening and I didn’t know what to process.

When did you first start to really click with the kids?

Probably the second or third time. I really debated about not coming back but I wanted to give it another chance and let my emotions dictate. Volunteers don’t generally become comfortable in an instant. It takes time to get to know the kids and to know yourself as a volunteer.

What has been your favorite Hope for Kids story so far?

I hate that question! There are so many stories to choose from. I think my favorite thing about working with Hope for Kids is the faces. Looking around and seeing the faces, remembering moments where you’ve made a difference in their lives, is amazing. One story that stands out is of the first time I reached out to my kids outside of Club Hope and Mentor Hope. I took one of the girls out for her birthday and we just got to hang out, have fun, and get to know each other a little more. At the next Club Hope, she kept constantly talking about how much fun that time had been, almost to the point of making the other girls jealous! She felt so special, and knowing that I had that chance to be an important influence in her life was awesome.

How has God shaped your walk with Him through your time with Hope for Kids?

Ever since being involved with Hope for Kids I’ve been stretched like Laffy Taffy! It’s required me to become really dependent on God for strength–a one-size-fits-all approach really doesn’t work with kids, and I’m always learning. I’ve learned that God has such heart for kids and sensitivity to their tender hearts. He’s teaching me how to be patient, and over time He’s built wisdom and discernment in the way I understand these girls through my interactions with them.

You can ask anyone who knows me: I used to hate kids! Before Hope for Kids, kids were not on my radar. I didn’t really like being around them. But seeing the atmosphere of love and respect that Matt and Erika and the volunteers built for these kids and knowing that this was God’s heart completely transformed me. Now I love kids!

What’s one thing you would want to share with someone who’s new to volunteering?

If I could tell a new volunteer anything, it would be this: you might be scared out of your mind the first day, and that’s okay. Don’t underestimate what God can do through a willing heart to serve Him. You might not see value of the time you spend until years later. God will bless that willingness! He’s blessed me through relationships that have been built with the kids, and a feeling of community and family in the ministry. I’ve been doing this for three years, and I can tell you, it’s worth it!