Sharing Hope: Mariah's Story

"This past Club Hope has to be one of the best Club Hopes I’ve ever been too. Not much had changed. There was nothing new to add the the agenda. No crazy behavior other than kids being kids. But for me this was so altering for my heart. God had been preparing me for this club beforehand.

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You see, I have this tendency to go to Club Hope with a certain agenda and expectations. I’m going to make sure the kids aren’t too crazy and the behavior is always controlled. I’m going to dig deep into the personal stuff and pull out what’s been going on. (Lots of pride from me huh?)
But a friend of mine sent me a verse that God was stirring in my heart: 'How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?' (‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

I had been doing that a lot lately and not even realizing it. I would go in and try to do things by my own effort and walk away frustrated or disconnected or both.

Today was different.

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Today I came and I just wanted to love the kids. I didn't want to change behaviors or force conversation. I just wanted to understand where they were at. I just wanted to love them with no expectations in return. It seems simple but sometimes life and your own plans have a way of complicating things and missing the whole point.

There was one girl in particular - one I met at Impact Clubs this year. I was the one who went to her house and found her family and brought them. She remembered me when I didn't remember her. She just slid up next to me and hugged me. And when I realized who she was, it was like God was showing me how much He's still using me even when I forget or get caught up in little things. Her face was just so glad to see me and be near me. It was like I understood what God wants from us. I was just really humbled today.

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The story doesn’t end there.

During group time they made me almost cry. At one point one of the girls started talking about fear and how she gets that feeling of fear like someone is walking behind her waiting to attack her but in reality there is no one there. A lot of the other girls agreed. And so I asked them what they did to make the fear go away. Some said think positive or think other thoughts. I asked them what happens when that didn't work? They just said they stayed afraid.

As I kept questioning them, I asked them, "what do we actually do for you? Why are you here? What’s the point of you being here? Sure we provide a safe place for now but what happens when you go back home? What do you get here that you bring back home?" (My tone was forceful, almost accusative because I wanted them to understand that I wanted real answers--not just answers they'd think I'd like.)

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One girl answered "You give us hope."

My heart just broke. Like wow. Hope. Real tangible hope. Real truth. That no matter what God is always with them. God is powerful and true. That they can believe that no matter what comes their way. That God sees EVERYTHING that is happening in their lives. He see all the pain and sorrow and moments that life brings and he CARES. He cares about them so much and they can believe that.

I told them all of that and it's so crazy to be privileged to be the one to declare these truths to them. They just let me speak and they even gave their feedback but ultimately today they just needed to know God cares.

It’s so simple that it’s easy to miss. I’m so glad I put my perspective right so I didn’t miss it.
 

Club Hope | February 2018

Club Hope this month was amazing! The kids had so much fun hanging out with our awesome volunteers. We learned about Paul and Silas and how with God, we can FEARLESSly tell the truth! Thank you so much to each and every volunteer who made this awesome event possible.

Volunteers, do you have a story of hope that happened at this month's Club Hope event? Did you see a child affected by the hope of the Gospel? Did you connect with your small group in a new way? Did you witness a funny moment? Email hopeforkidsmegan@gmail.com to share your story of hope! Check out #HFKsharehope to read other volunteers' stories!

Watch this month's slideshow highlighting the 8-9 girls small group and click through the photo gallery below!

GET INVOLVED: Five easy ways to connect with HFK families!

Looking for some simple ways to get involved in your community? Here are FIVE easy ways to connect with a Hope for Kids family!

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Provide church transportation for a family. Hope for Kids Family Church takes place at 1pm every Sunday in the North End of Springfield, after regular church services. Families join us at a local YMCA for a hot meal, worship, and a message from God's Word for both parents and kids! If you have a family on your heart, please pray about bringing them to church and get in touch with us today.

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Send a letter to a Hope for Kids child on their birthday, or even deliver a gift! Let them know they are loved and someone is thinking of them. Please contact us to find out which children have birthdays coming up!

PRAY. We can never underestimate the power of God's people praying! (James 5:16b) If you are a Club Hope volunteer, pray personally for each child in your group. Pray for the finances of Hope for Kids, for blessing on the projects we take on, for wisdom for our leadership. Pray for the volunteers who work so hard to make this ministry effective. Pray for anything the Lord puts on your heart! Feel free to shoot us a text at (413) 566-6291 for the current prayer needs of Hope for Kids.

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Pick up a few extra groceries the next time you’re at the store! Non-perishable food items (such as canned goods, pancake mix, pasta, or fruit juice) are always a need for many of the families we serve at Hope for Kids. Drop off food donations at the Hope for Kids office in Hampden--just contact us to set it up!

Tell a friend about Hope for Kids. Get the word out about what God is doing in Springfield! This blog contains tons of pictures of HFK in action--why not save a few and share them on social media with a few words about what Hope for Kids means to you? Check out our Youtube channel to find tons of videos to share with your friends, family, or even your church!

Club Hope | January 2018

This Saturday, so many wonderful volunteers came together to make this month's Club Hope event a success. Each child who came enjoyed a delicious meal, learned about how to overcome the fear of bullying through the story of Esther, and built relationships through some super fun games. Volunteers, please sign up today for next month's event here!

Check out the pictures and video from this weekend below!

Club Hope | December 2017

Our Christmas event is always a highlight of the Club Hope year at Hope for Kids! On December 16th, we had 92 kids in attendance at Club Hope! The kids heard the story of the wise men, and following our FEARLESS theme for the year, they learned how to conquer the fear of being wrong. Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal, intentional small group time, super fun games, and great bible lessons.

We had TONS of volunteers come out and show their support this month--thanks to some great teamwork, this Club went incredibly smoothly! Thank you to every volunteer who made this day possible. We're in this together! 

Check out this month's video and photo gallery below.

Club Hope | November 2017

This month's Club Hope was great! We had 97 children attend--this time last year we were averaging 65 kids in attendance, but thanks to this year's Impact Clubs, we are averaging 95 kids a month at our events! Praise God.

This month, the kids enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, heard the story of Daniel, and learned how God is bigger than any fear, even the fear of death. Check out the video and photo gallery from this day below!

Club Hope | October 2017

Club Hope this past Saturday was a great day! We had beautiful weather, a delicious meal provided by our Food Team Leader, and so many sweet kids came out to learn about Jesus and build relationships. Thank you to all who made this day so special! Check out photos and videos from this event below!

Check out this month's Intro video to the story of Gideon!


Volunteers and Parents: Leave feedback from this event below!

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Club Hope | September 2017

Our first Club Hope event of the year was a huge success!

We had over a hundred kids attend, and many of them were new kids that we met over this summer! It was wonderful to reconnect with all these awesome kids, and six children believed in Jesus during this club! We had a few challenges throughout the day, but overall this was a great kickoff to this Club Hope season and we are so thankful.

The kids learned about David and Goliath, and following our FEARLESS theme for this Club Hope year, they learned how when God is on our side we don't have to be afraid of not measuring up. Everyone loved watching the funny intro video [check it out here] and Cameron and Pastor Matt did a great job teaching Bible lessons for Club Hope and Mentor Hope. Check out this action-packed day in this month's video!


For volunteers:

If you are a Club Hope volunteer, please sign up for our next event on October 21 TODAY!

What was your experience at Club Hope this month? Please leave feedback below!

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Check out this month's photo gallery below!

An incredible opportunity!

Dear Hope for Kids partners,

Some of you may have heard a radio spot announcing that a Springfield Pride gas station will be donating a $50,000 gift to a children's charity as a result of the earnings acquired from selling the winning lottery ticket! This has potential to be an incredible opportunity for Hope for Kids.

Not only is our ministry a perfect fit for this gift as a children's charity serving the city, but Hope for Kids actually began at the Econo Lodge hotel that once existed in Chicopee, directly next door to the Pride Gas Station on Burnett Road! In December of 2013, the discovery at this Econo Lodge that there were families who were homeless and living in hotels across Greater Springfield was what moved Matt's heart to take action. Needless to say, the city of Springfield, and especially this specific area, has a special place in our hearts as we work to bring help and hope to these families and their children.

The Pride Station has been accepting applications from charities, and Pastor Matt has already written the "official" letter. He was even privileged to speak on the phone with the CEO's assistant and explained the story of Hope for Kids. Pride will be announcing the winner(s) of this gift in just two weeks!

We desire your help! If you have a heart for the work of Hope for Kids, will you recommend our charity? Click here to visit the Pride website and submit a brief write-up about why Hope for Kids should receive this gift!

Stay tuned for a live broadcast tomorrow morning on our Facebook page! We will be announcing this need for recommendations--please like and share this video, and pray for God's will to be done! Thank you!

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