Imagine every single vulnerable child in primary school being mentored by an adult every week during the school term for one hour. Imagine being able to prepare children at a young age so you don’t have to repair them later. Imagine being that constant person in a young child’s life week in, week out and the purpose it would give you.
Well, welcome to Kids Hope! A Christian, not for profit organisation whose primary aim is bring hope to the life of every child by partnering one church with one local state school. Where one volunteer from a church is matched with one child for one hour a week. Simple, right?
Family dysfunction, bullying, social disconnection, and mental health issues are increasing. Sadly, anxiety, depression and self-destructive behaviour have reached primary school children. The Kids help line have experienced a 40% increase in the number of calls from children. Our schools waiting list for the program is increasing. There is greater need than ever before but there is hope.
Somebody who believes in them
Recently I got to speak with a local Kids Hope coordinator who shared this incredible story about a young boy who couldn’t even look his mentor in the eyes. After the second session the mentor leaned across the table where they were seated and asked the young boy what it was that he wanted to do with their time together. The young boy asked his mentor if he owned an allen key. The mentor replied, “I think so, I should have one at home.” The young boy asked him if he could bring it in. The mentor curious to know why asked how come, the young boy replied “Because I have been walking around this school and there is that much money sitting in these drains. I just need an allen key to lift the top up.” The following week the mentor brought in his allen key and for the duration of their hour together they walked around the school collecting coins from the drains. You know after their hour together this young boy never had an issue looking at his mentor in the eyes again.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson says that “All kids need is a little help, a little hope and somebody who believes in them.”
Wayne Butcher gets it. He has left his current job to circumnavigate Australia in his helicopter raising awareness and funds for Kids Hope. Wayne’s own mother has been mentoring a child for years now and he has witnessed the benefits firsthand.
Offers wellbeing support to students
Dr Michael Carr-Greg says that the five keys to child resilience are: social and emotional connection; having a significant adult (other than a parent) in their life; a feeling of hope and self-control; positive talk; and spirituality. Kids Hope is responding with a unique and highly effective mentoring model which focuses on early intervention to maximize the possibility of success.
Brene Brown writes in her Dare to lead book “We must be guardians of a space that allows students to breathe and be curious and explore the world and be who they are without suffocation. They deserve one place where they can rumble with vulnerability and their hearts can exhale. And what I know from research is that we should never underestimate the benefit to a child of having a place to belong-even one- where they can take off their amor. It can and often does change the trajectory of their life.”
If you’d like to learn more about Kids Hope, please head to www.kidshope.org.au
If you’d like to keep up to date with Wayne’s helicopter tour, follow KIDS+CHAMPIONS on Facebook.
Elise Pappas is a Pastor and together with her husband pastor a church on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. They have a son, Jonathan and a daughter, Sophie. Elise is a former clinical drug trial research coordinator and business owner. She writes about life and ministry experiences.