Wednesday, December 26, 2012
One hundred youth gather at the Kids 4 Christ headquarters in downtown LaFayette after school for snacks, homework help and to go over Montessori-style learning materials in order to advance in their classes.
“Kids 4 Christ [volunteers] helps us with our homework,” said Amya Williams. “We do fractions, shapes and word problems.”
The after-school program provides one-on-one assistance and Montessori-style hands-on activities that include things like fraction circles and reading with a moveable alphabet. K4C participant Sierra Mahon said the Cool After School program keeps her on track with her schoolwork.
The children also take part in a Bible study, read chapter books and sometimes study about famous composers and musicians.
“Any child is welcome to come,” said Kids 4 Christ Executive Director Gail Marks. “We are designed to help at-risk children.”
When the ministry started 10 years ago, 11 youth started in the program that now averages 100 attendees.
The ministry is now launching a Friend 2 Friend mentoring program. Mentors are needed to assist with Kids 4 Christ programs including KidsFirst, Cool After School and Teens in Training.
“Our mentor program Friend 2 Friend has three mentors and we need many more,” said Marks, adding that volunteers must pass a background check and go through training to assist at Kids 4 Christ. “We always look for help from volunteers.”
When Marks moved to Walker County in 1980 she began noticing children in the area that needed mentors to come alongside them and inspire them to succeed in life, she said. So she started hosting the Big A Club inside tents in a community located near Friendship Baptist Church where Walker and Whitfield counties intersect. She said she noticed that the local children living in poverty rarely attended the church, so she began bringing VBS to them on Tuesdays through the Big A Club. Many years later K4C started.
Many at-risk students still live in the LaFayette area today, Marks noted.
“I’ve always helped kids,” she said. “I taught Sunday school as a young adult and home-schooled my children. I guess that was God training me for Kids 4 Christ now. My husband volunteers with me on Thursday nights.”
Kids 4 Christ does not receive government grants and operates solely on community donations, Marks said, adding that many people donate $10 to $20 monthly to the nonprofit that runs on an annual $80,000 budget.
“The children never pay for anything,” said Marks. “We give them school supplies and take them on field trips. As a ministry we give to them and it’s provided by local Christian people that support the Kids 4 Christ Ministry.”
Marks was personally a child when she first accepted Christ at age 10. She is a member of First Baptist Church of LaFayette.
“Kids 4 Christ needs mentors, volunteers and donations,” said Marks. “We provide transportation for the kids.”
Kids 4 Christ Ministries Inc. is an independent nonprofit ministry working with “at-risk” children living in and around the community of LaFayette. K4C works to break cycles of generational poverty and hopelessness through providing education and spiritual growth activities primarily focused on kids ages 3-14. The children drop by after school at 3 p.m. Monday-Friday.
To learn more, visit Kids 4 Christ online at www.k4c.info, call 706-639-3234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.People can mail in donations to Kids 4 Christ to PO Box 1124, LaFayette, GA 30728. Kids 4 Christ is located at 108 West Withers Street in LaFayette. The ministry is a nonprofit, so donations are tax deductible.